Health ministry, privacy regulator move to allay fears over vaccine personal data misuse

·2-min read

France’s data protection authority (CNIL) has given the green light to a vaccine registration database called "SI Vaccin Covid". The CNIL, the data privacy regulator charged with protecting personal data, has assured that checks will be implemented to secure the use of the data gathered by the health ministry as France rolls out its vaccination programme.

The government initiative was signed by France’s Health Minister Olivier Véran and published on 26 December. The compilation of data on people who get vaccinated against Covid-19 is due to be put in place from 4 January, according to the regional Ouest-France newspaper.

"SI Vaccin Covid" will record the surnames, first names, and dates of birth of people vaccinated, but also the type of vaccine used, where the vaccination was carried out as well as the name of the person who administered the injection.

CNIL director, Thomas Dautieu, told Franceinfo that the organization would aim to ensure that the data gathered will only be used within the context of "managing and monitoring [France’s] vaccination campaign."

He also announced during the interview that people who don’t want to be vaccinated have the right to be removed from the list, but underlined that being included in the database after getting the Covid vaccine will allow for better risk assessment, particularly in terms of monitoring how the vaccine is faring and possible side effects.

No "immune passport"

France’s health ministry is seeking to allay suspicions against a widespread registration campaign, explained that the database would not be used as a tool to keep tabs on the population, nor to set up a so-called "immune passport" that would prevent unvaccinated people from accessing certain amenities such as airports or cinemas.

The ministry also said that individual files will only be accessible to health authorities.

However, in a similar data-gathering programme rolled-out In Spain, information on people who have refused to take the vaccine will be recorded.