Housley Sends Bipartisan Letter to Governor Walz—Asks for Immediate Removal of Invasive Questions on Vaccine Connector

Attachment: Sen. Housley’s Letter to Gov. Walz

Today Senator Karin Housley (R-Stillwater) sent a bipartisan letter to Governor Walz asking for the immediate removal of invasive questions on the Department’s Vaccine Connector website.

In order to join the line to receive a COVID vaccine, applicants must visit the Vaccine Connector website and answer invasive questions including the following:

  • How would you describe your gender? Male, Female, Transgender, or Other
  • How would you describe your sexual orientation? Straight, Gay or Lesbian, Bisexual, I Don’t Know, Something Else.
  • Do you have a physical, mental, or emotional condition, making it very difficult to concentrate, remember, or make decisions?
  • Do you have difficulty dressing or bathing?
  • Do you have difficulty doing errands alone such as visiting a doctor’s office or shopping, because of physical, mental, or emotional condition?
  • Do you live in a single-family home or an apartment?
  • What is your employer’s name?  What is your job title?
  • Do you smoke or vape?
  • Are you obese?

“This bipartisan letter was signed by 35 senators because we all recognize how invasive and unnecessary these questions are,” said Senator Housley. “These questions asking about gender identity, sexual orientation, and physical health are irrelevant and should not stand between our seniors, or anyone else, and a vaccine. This information is meant to be shared only between a patient and their doctor, and it is baffling that the state is collecting this information! Many Minnesotans have answered these questions out of desperation to receive a COVID vaccine. I invited Commissioner Malcolm from the Minnesota Department of Health to my Aging and Long-Term Care hearing on February 24, where members of the committee expressed anger and confusion over these questions. Despite the outrage, Commissioner Malcolm was unable to commit to altering the vaccine questionnaire to omit these questions. Her response was simply that applicants could click ‘prefer not to answer.’ This is unacceptable. This is private information the government has no right to, and I’m appalled the Governor and MDH are weaponizing access to the COVID vaccine as a way to coerce our seniors and other Minnesotans into sharing private information with the government. I am now asking the Governor directly to remove these invasive questions—the government has no right to this personal medical information.”