Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene landed herself in the headlines yet again following a testy exchange with a reporter on July 20. Greene claimed that a question about the COVID-19 vaccine somehow violated her civil rights.
In a press conference broadcast on CSPAN, CBS reporter Aaron Navarro cited the current rise in US COVID-19 cases of the so-called Delta Variant, a mutated form of the virus more easily spread from person to person. Navarro cited Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise, a Republican, as an example of someone showing leadership by encouraging his constituents to get vaccinated. Navarro asked if Greene herself had received the vaccine, and if she would encourage people living in her district to do the same.
“Your first question is a violation of my HIPAA rights,” Greene sniped. “See, with HIPAA rights, adults don’t have to reveal our medical records, and that also involves our vaccine records.”
Question: Have you yourself been vaccinated?
Greene: Your first question is a violation of my HIPAA rights pic.twitter.com/JuHDovV2mC
— Acyn (@Acyn) July 20, 2021
Actually, Greene is incorrect on that point. HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) does not protect anyone from simply being asked a question about health history or vaccination status. The law also carves out exceptions to medical privacy laws in matters of public health issues, “to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to a person or the public.” For that reason, vaccination records are not considered protected information. It’s a common practice for schools, universities or employers to require proof of vaccination. The US government requires proof of vaccination to travel to certain countries as well.
Marjorie Taylor Greene has become a virtually nonstop source of controversy since joining congress earlier this year. In the past, she has spread conspiracy theories linked to QAnon as well as misinformation regarding the 9/11 attacks and 2020 Election. She has also recently come under fire for homophobic, antisemitic and transphobic remarks. Earlier this week, Twitter suspended her from the platform for spreading misinformation about the ongoing pandemic.