State Representative Jacey Jetton (R-Richmond) filed legislation to prevent county health authorities from sharing personal vaccine or immunization information with non-healthcare related third parties. House Bill 120 was filed in response to a questionable contract between Fort Bend County and a for-profit political consulting firm that could have access to private vaccine information.
“Texans expect and deserve privacy with their medical records,” said Jetton, who serves on the House Public Health Committee. “My constituents want peace of mind, knowing their elected officials and government agencies will not share their medical information with any group outside of their healthcare provider. I filed HB 120 to ensure governments protect sensitive medical documents.”
Texas Law currently allows county health authorities to disclose vaccine and immunization records to healthcare professionals or any third party with whom they are contracted, even if a third party is not the person’s healthcare provider. HB 120 requires county health authorities to keep vaccine and immunization records private and secure. Those who should reasonably have access to these records, such as an individual’s healthcare provider and those with power of attorney, will still be able to access them.
Jetton authored a letter earlier this summer requesting the Fort Bend County Commissioners Court to not share residents’ vaccine and immunization information with a for-profit, third party, political consulting firm. They instead encouraged the Commissioners Court to utilize the existing nonprofits embedded in the community to increase vaccination efforts in underserved and high risk communities. Harris County Judge Hidalgo recently cancelled a similar contract in the neighboring county after criticism the contract was awarded to an unqualified political firm as opposed to a better suited public health entity.