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Politics & Government

Top Idaho GOP Lawmakers Accuse Health Officials Of Running Illegal Vaccine Database

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Idaho Republican legislative leaders are alleging the state health department is illegally collecting and maintaining an adult vaccination database.

All eight members of GOP leadership in the House and Senate sent a letter Friday to Attorney General Lawrence Wasden asking him to step in and “redress [the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s] egregious regulatory overreach and unlawful actions.”

State law expressly allows health officials to collect and maintain a vaccine database for children, though parents can opt their kids out if they choose. The law doesn’t include any mention of adult vaccinations.

“Under no regulatory or common sense definition can the immunization registry be defined to include adults,” legislative leaders wrote in the letter.

They said several lawmakers had requested their own vaccine records, which they said included, “multiple reports listing adult vaccination records for multiple different vaccines over multiple years.”

“If this information is accurate, we believe that IDHW is acting in the absence of any statutory or regulatory authority,” they wrote.

House Majority Caucus Leader Megan Blanksma (R-Hammett) didn’t clarify through a text message whether those records included any COVID-19 vaccinations.

IDHW Director Dave Jeppesen said in a statement that he's "confident" the department follows state and federal laws on collecting vaccination data. 

"We hope that Idahoans of all ages will choose to be included in Idaho's Immunization Reminder Information System (IRIS) because it helps keep healthcare providers informed about their patients," Jeppesen said, noting the program is optional and patients can opt out at any time.

 Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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