Vaccine status: Where your privacy and their need to know intersect

Also on the program: A bill to ban vaccine passports advances

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Airdate: Thursday, June 3, 2021

There is a lot of debate about the importance of privacy and the role of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 regarding vaccination status.

Can an employer ask you if you’ve been vaccinated? What about schools? Do travel companies and other countries have a right to know your status?

People often incorrectly cite HIPAA as a reason to maintain privacy, misunderstanding what the law allows and what it protects.

John DeLorenzo is the associate general counsel for UPMC Central Pa. Region and he joins Smart Talk Thursday to talk about HIPAA misinformation.

Legislation advances that would ban authorities from requiring ‘vaccine passports’

A bill to ban government authorities from requiring people show their vaccination status passed the state Senate Health and Human Services committee last month.

Republican state Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill of York County sponsored the bill, which would prohibit “the requirement of vaccine passports,” according to her memo.

Phillips-Hill noted that Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf repeatedly has said he has no plan to require a proof of vaccination. This legislation would make sure that doesn’t change, she said.

Brett Sholtis, WITF Transforming Health reporter appears on Smart Talk Thursday to offer more details.

For more on public health issues plus a deeper look at the changing tide of healthcare–check out WITF’s Transforming Health. Online at, a partnership of WITF, WellSpan Health and Capital Blue Cross.

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