HCJ Supports ACRI Petition: Interim Order Prohibits Transfer of Vaccine Information
Earlier today, we argued in the High Court of Justice against the law authorizing the transfer of information on unvaccinated civilians from the Ministry of Health to local municipalities and the Ministries of Education and Welfare. The Court has put out an interim order and conditional order in support of our petition– the State must explain why the law should not be repealed, and, in the meantime, the Ministry of Health cannot transfer the information until the final High Court verdict is made. The next hearing will be before an extended panel of 7 justices. The petition was submitted along with Physicians for Human Rights – Israel.
ACRI Atty Gil Gan-Mor: "Even during the hearing and despite repeated questions from the court, representatives of the government and the Knesset could not point to a significant benefit from the transfer of sensitive medical information to government ministries and local authorities. This is another serious violation of the constitutional right to privacy, which, as Chief Justice Hayut noted in the debate, has been significantly eroded in the past year."
In late February, the Parliament passed legislation permitting municipalities to acquire names, ID numbers, addresses and telephone numbers of local residents who have not yet been inoculated against coronavirus or missed the second dose in order to encourage them to receive it.
Background and ACRI Statement against the Law
ACRI, along with Physicians for Human Rights - Israel, petitioned to the High Court of Justice against the law on March 1, 2021. The law is dangerous and constitutes a violation of citizens' privacy and a precedent of violating the medical confidentiality between the patient and the HMO. We fear the likely misuse of information by local authorities. Encouraging immunization is an important goal and the effort must be continued, but not via the extreme step of passing on lists of those who have not been vaccinated to local authorities and the Ministry of Education. The violation of privacy and medical confidentiality is grave, and the precedent of transferring medical information without consent to other authorities is a dangerous one. A special and weighty justification is required for this purpose, and ACRI is of the opinion that there is no clear justification as of now. Furthermore, the transfer of information from the treating entity to other entities such as local authorities and the Ministry of Education creates a danger that the information will leak or be misused for other purposes.
Encouraging vaccination is a worthy purpose, but there are other ways to achieve it, for example through the HMO’s themselves, which have information about those who have been vaccinated and those who have not readily available. In addition, the Ministry of Health is conducting an extensive and successful campaign to encourage vaccination by various media platforms, and by other means of exerting social pressure to get vaccinated. Local authorities can also encourage vaccination in general and provide positive incentives, even without receiving confidential medical information about the vaccination status of civilians.