Thank you for contacting my office regarding my recent vote for H.R. 550, the Immunization Infrastructure Modernization Act. I understand there has been a great deal of confusion surrounding this particular bill mostly out of ignorance of what the bill says and some with willful neglect because of perhaps a personal agenda. Unfortunately, a few members of Congress who misunderstood what the bill said have been very vocal in their opposition. I have educated them about this and now they understand it better. That said I completely understand your concern. I too, would be alarmed by the prospect of the federal government collecting and tracking my vaccination records. Fortunately nothing of the sort is happening or expected to happen soon, thanks to this bill. Let me first off say that I been very consistent in my opposition to vaccine mandates. Not only do I believe they are unconstitutional, but they interfere with the doctor patient relationship and destroy one’s personal medical freedom. Let me be clear, this bill does NOT create a new database that would track individuals based on their vaccination status and has NOTHING to do with vaccine mandates.
H.R. 550 would provide funds to the Department of Health and Human Services in order to expand and improve the immunization information systems (IIS) administered by state and local governments. All this bill does is update the already existing database to ensure it is equipped with the most modern technology. This includes a confidential, population-based monitoring system to better inform us about the geography of vaccinations. The law explicitly requires that personal identifying details be removed so that nothing can be traced back to a single person. We ‘de-identify’ personal details in medicine all the time for confidentiality purposes. Nothing about this bill will allow the government to track one’s vaccine status and I would not have voted for it if it did.
In addition, we already have an IIS system in place for cancer, heart disease, and organ transplants. Normally the Centers for Medicare Services (CMS) has the job of gathering and collecting medical population data. Since however, this vaccine rollout was not controlled by Medicare, they do not have that data. I personally have performed kidney transplants for years. We have a very similar system to monitor programs across the country to see which ones are being successful with their kidney transplants and which ones are not. Having a comprehensive immunization database allows us to monitor flair ups that may occur in certain geographic areas. This would allow us to actually see the vaccines efficacy in combatting COVID-19. If there were to be a flair up in a state like Vermont, which has the highest vaccination rate in the country, health officials could then further analyze the vaccines efficacy and determine if the vaccines actually work. In other words we are actually making sure the vaccines are doing what they say they are doing. We could find out if there is a bad “batch” somewhere before the pharmaceutical company would admit to it.
What else does this bill do? It aims to make American’s immunization records more secure by mandating patient data is confidential and again de-identified, meaning your personal information and vaccination status is hidden to any government entity. It also adds extra cyber protection so that hostile foreign governments like China or Russia cannot access American’s medical information.
Once again, H.R. 550 does NOT create a new database for tracking vaccinated individuals and has NOTHING to do with vaccine mandates. I have been vocally opposed to vaccine mandates and repeatedly co-sponsored legislation, signed letters and have given numerous statements opposing vaccine mandates. This includes co-sponsoring H.R. 5450, Blocking Joseph Robinette Biden’s Overreaching Vaccine Mandates Act and H.R. 5590, the Natural Immunity Is Real Act. I have signed on to numerous letters to President Biden, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Secretary of Defense Austin expressing my disagreements to the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate policies. I will continue to oppose vaccination mandates in all forms.
Again, I completely understand your confusion and concern. Unfortunately, in politics some who do not completely understand what a bill says spread misinformation making the confusion even greater.
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