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Vaccination campaign: What information will be stored?

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The government yesterday agreed what data it will stock on people taking part in the Covid-19 vaccination campaign about to start in Belgium.

The clarification comes after misgivings expressed at the weekend by the Data Protection Authority (DPA) and by Absym, the association of medical trade unions. Both bodies argued that the Royal decree governing the issue gave carte blanche to the government to take and keep any private information it saw fit, without any built-in safeguards for the protection of privacy.

Now the government has laid out exactly what information will be gathered from the vaccination campaign: the identity details of the person to whom the vaccine was administered, the details of the person who administered the vaccine and the details of the vaccine administered, the time and place of the vaccination, the vaccination schedule and any adverse reactions.

A draft decree on the question was agreed by ministers yesterday.

The law states that any doctor or nurse who administers a vaccine must log the details in the database designated by the Interministerial Conference on Public Health, federal health minister Frank Vandenbroucke said in a statement.

The draft law also sets out the purposes for which personal details can be processed, as well as the agencies that are permitted to have access to the data.

One concern expressed by the DPA was that the details of who was allowed access to the data was too vague to be monitored, leaving the possibility open of misuse.

The law as it stands, the authority said in a published opinion, leaves open the possibility of “a risk of discrimination in access to certain government services, based on vaccination status”. In other words, a person who was not vaccinated could be refused certain benefits or access to employment, even though the vaccine is not compulsory.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times