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Experts say it’s not a HIPAA violation for businesses, schools to ask for vaccination status

COVID-19 vaccination card
Posted at 7:43 PM, Jul 28, 2021

If you're wondering whether disclosing your COVID-19 vaccination status to an employer, school or any other person, is a HIPAA violation, the answer is no.

Recent events have sparked conversation around HIPAA rules and regulations when disclosing ones COVID-19 vaccination status.

"HIPAA only applies to hospitals and insurance companies. So for an individual you might as well cite the dueling rules at Hogwarts because it has the same legal rules and effect," said Attorney Scott Taylor.

The health insurance portability and accountability act or HIPAA is a way for hospitals and insurance companies to share information efficiently and protect patients. Under HIPAA rules hospitals and insurance companies can get in trouble if they release confidential information to a third party. These rules only apply to hospitals and and insurance companies, not individuals.

Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene was recently asked by a reporter during a press availability in her office if she was vaccinated. She responded by saying that the question was a violation of her HIPAA rights.

"No reporter is a hospital. No reporter is an insurance company. So unless you're a reporter who is employed by a hospital or an insurance company under that extreme circumstance maybe it could be a HIPAA violation, but that was just not the case," said Taylor.

With COVID-19 restrictions being lifted and more people returning to work, some employers and schools are requiring proof of vaccination.

Suzanne Pfefer, who is visiting San Luis Obispo, said she thinks disclosing the information is reasonable and would allow her to make informed decisions in the workplace.

"I do think that it's fair. I know that I would want to know if somebody is vaccinated where I'm working and I would like the prerogative to not hire that person if they're not vaccinated," said Pfeffer.

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra violinist, Susan Rishik agrees but says she believes it is important to respect individuals no matter what decision they make regarding vaccination.

"I think it is fair as long as people are treated respectfully and exemptions are given and accommodations are made because it does affect everyone," said Rishik.