COVID-19 vaccination status inquiry draws Florida pols’ ire
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Holy Name Medical Center Administers Covid-19 Vaccine To Group 1B
Spring Hill Rep. Blaise Ingoglia took issue with a Tampa Bay Times inquiry.

As more and more workplaces are requiring their employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, politicians are finding themselves facing questions about their own status, and some of them are not enjoying it, apparently.

Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene‘s comments went viral when she declared that being asked her vaccine status was a violation of her rights, invoking HIPAA, the federal medical privacy law. And Spring Hill Rep. Blaise Ingoglia posted an email his staff received from Tampa Bay Times reporter Romy Ellenbogen Tuesday asking whether the Republican had been vaccinated.

“We’ve had some readers curious whether local politicians have been vaccinated or not, so we’re pulling together a list,” Ellenbogen wrote.

He replied 23 minutes later, flaying Ellenbogen for asking his staff, rather than him directly.

“This is some bullsh*t.” And then he added another tweet.

“Oh, by the way …come up with a better excuse for the question than ‘some readers’ are curious. That crap doesn’t work anymore.”

But it’s a perfectly legitimate line of questioning — especially in the context of this moment in time, a media ethicist said.

“We are in a heated conversation as a nation over the laws about who can require vaccinations,” said Kelly McBride, chair of the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership at the Poynter Institute. “For everybody in the country, revealing your vaccination status is a signal. It’s a different signal depending on what that status is and who you are talking to.”

“If you refuse to reveal your status, that is also a signal and it’s a confusing one. And it’s intended to be confusing,” she added.

Just like Greene, many of those who responded to Ingoglia’s tweet appear to think that an inquiry about one’s vaccination status is a HIPAA violation, but it’s not. HIPAA does not preclude one from revealing their own medical information and it doesn’t prohibit anyone from asking.

Ingoglia got a lot of support for the tweet.

‘I missed where electeds give up their medical privacy & freedom once elected,” Christian Ziegler, Vice Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida wrote.

Ingoglia does not answer the question about whether he’s vaccinated on the Twitter thread. When asked by Florida Politics via text, he said, “I am.”

He said he was not available to discuss it further on Wednesday.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


  • Matthew Lusk

    August 4, 2021 at 4:29 pm

    Anne, some women use vibrators, some women keep their vibrator in their purse where it can contact other objects- keys,money etc. Some women do not wash their vibrators after each use. Anne, would you be comfortable with having your boss open your purse to see if you are in possession of a vibrator and if so having said vibrator sterilized each and every day at the front door or face dismissal? This would be 100 percent scientific and for the health of all fellow employees!

  • Tjb

    August 4, 2021 at 6:51 pm

    I guess you can not ask parents if their children has been vaccinated for school using Marjorie Taylor Greene HIPAA logic. Florida law requires that children must have various vaccinations to attend school in Florida. Also a question for MTG, does this law take away the child freedom of choice to be vaccinated or not?

Comments are closed.


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