House Republicans aren’t impressed with President Joe Biden’s suggestion that his administration will launch a “door to door” effort to vaccinate people.
The administration aimed to have 70% of adults receiving at least one COVID-19 vaccination shot by July 4. But it fell short of meeting that goal.
“Now we need to go community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood, and often times door-to-door — literally knocking on doors to get help to the remaining people protected from the virus,” Biden said on Tuesday.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki then elaborated on Biden’s remarks on the door-to-door vaccine campaign.
Republicans questioned the legality of such a concept. “Constitutionality notwithstanding, unless this specific activity was authorized by Congress, it’s illegal,” Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky told the Washington Examiner. “If the president truly believes the most transmissible variants are now circulating, why is he sending possible vectors of the disease to people’s houses?”
Massie and other critics cite the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The 1996 law is intended to protect patient privacy and restricts how insurance firms, hospitals, and other businesses can use a person’s medical data without one’s permission.
Advocates of Biden’s door-to-door campaign argue that if a person volunteers their vaccine history, it is not a violation of HIPAA. But Massie responded that “if the door-knockers have data that informs which doors to knock, then their very presence at someone’s door would disclose that person’s likely vaccine status.”
Massie added, “What right do they have to enter someone’s property, to begin with? At least the census is a constitutionally prescribed activity.”
Rep. Chip Roy took issue with the Biden administration’s “gross abuse of power.” The Texas Republican told the Washington Examiner in a statement, “Nowhere in the Constitution does it say, ‘The federal government shall go door to door pushing Americans into vaccine trials.’”
Roy called the Biden administration vaccination effort “an attempt for the Biden administration to bully Americans into injecting themselves with vaccinations.”
Unmentioned, Roy said, “is the fine print in which there will be zero ability to hold anyone accountable for any possible injury. This effort should alarm every American — exactly how, and with what information does Biden have in order to target ‘remaining’ unvaccinated people?”
It’s unclear if federal government employees or contractors from third-party firms will be the ones who will visit people’s homes in the vaccine outreach campaign.
Additionally, the Biden administration was vague about whether these visits would include questions regarding a resident’s COVID-19 vaccine history and if that resident plans to get the shot in the future.
“It took months to hire half a million people and collect census data. How does Biden practically expect to do this while still paying the unemployment bonus, without further exacerbating the labor shortage?” Massie wondered.
The Kentucky lawmaker thinks funding for such a campaign came from the last stimulus package and “is already flowing to media and social media corporations through the $1 billion program ‘to increase vaccine confidence.’”
Author : Kerry Picket
Source : Washington Examiner : Biden’s ‘door to door’ vaccine campaign slammed as invasion of privacy by GOP lawmakers