Marjorie Taylor Greene. Screenshot via YouTube.
Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene made headlines again following a difficult exchange with a reporter on July 20. Greene claimed that a question about the COVID-19 vaccine somehow violated his civil rights.
In a press conference broadcast on CSPAN, CBS reporter Aaron Navarro cited the current increase in COVID-19 cases in the United States from the so-called Delta Variant, a mutated form of the virus that spreads more easily from ‘one person to another. Navarro cited Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise, a Republican, as an example of someone showing leadership in encouraging his constituents to get vaccinated. Navarro asked if Greene herself had received the vaccine and if she would encourage people in her district to do the same.
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“Your first question is a violation of my HIPPA rights,” Greene said. “You see, with HIPPA rights, adults don’t have to reveal our medical records, and that also involves our immunization records.”
In fact, Greene is wrong on this point. HIPPA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) does not protect anyone from simply asking a question about health history or immunization status. The law also provides exceptions to medical confidentiality laws in matters of public health, “to prevent or mitigate a serious and imminent threat to a person or the public”. For this reason, vaccination records are not considered protected information. It is common practice for schools, universities or employers to require proof of vaccination. The US government also requires proof of vaccination to travel to certain countries.
Marjorie Taylor Greene has become a virtually unbroken source of controversy since joining Congress earlier this year. In the past, she has disseminated QAnon-related conspiracy theories as well as misinformation regarding the September 11 attacks and the 2020 election. She has also recently been criticized for homophobic, anti-Semitic and transphobic comments. Earlier this week, Twitter suspended her from the platform for spreading misinformation about the ongoing pandemic.