On Friday, the Minnesota Senate took action to protect Minnesotans’ medical privacy rights from COVID-19 vaccine passports and contact tracing. The bill prohibits state and local units of government from mandating a person disclose their personal health status. The bill is in response to efforts by governments to obtain and track citizens’ private health information during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Everyone has a right to keep their personal health information private,” said Senator Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson). “If a private business wishes to ask for the vaccine status of its customers, that’s their right. But the government should never have the authority to compel citizens to reveal that information.”
Under the legislation, no person must be required to possess, wear, or display any indicator they received a positive or negative test result or possesses the antibodies for a communicable disease. Additionally, the Minnesota Department of Health is prohibited from forcing anyone to participate in contact tracing or digital contact tracing and Minnesotans cannot be compelled to get a vaccine or get a test for a disease.
The data shows there are significant disparities in vaccination rates among Minnesotans. While 55% of white Minnesotans over the age of 15 have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine while only 39% of Latino and 37% of black Minnesotans have. If vaccine passports become required by the state or localities, then most black and Latino Minnesotans would find themselves excluded while most white Minnesotans would be permitted in vaccine passport restricted areas.