This article was originally published by Informed Choice Maryland – a 501c4 nonprofit that lobbies on matters of informed consent, personal choice in healthcare, and in favor of upholding the Constitutional rights of all Marylanders. You can join the Informed Choice Maryland Facebook group here.
The Covid-19 pandemic has inspired numerous public officials, corporate entities, and media outlets to call for increasing restrictions on civil liberties which deeply concern many Americans. Microsoft founder Bill Gates recently called for a “national tracking system similar to South Korea,” Forbes reports.
Gates, considered the founder of the microcomputer revolution, has always been plagued by accusations of anti-competitive business practices. The launch of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000 has served to overhaul Gates’ public image as a philanthropist while forging inroads into multiple sectors of the pharmaceutical industry; in particular, providing a platform from which Gates has leveraged his vast influence to implement mass vaccination in developing countries. The Gates Foundation is the world’s largest private foundation, controlling $46.8 billion in assets. They launched their international vaccine program in 1998 with a $100 million gift to the “Program for Appropriate Technology and Health” and have since spearheaded mass-vaccination programs around the world, some of which have come under intense scrutiny and criticism for alleged misconduct.
Most recently, Gates has predictably shifted the focus of his foundation toward all aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic, announcing the donation of $50 million to a dozen pharmaceutical companies in an effort to accelerate the development of a Covid-19 vaccine. It was Gates who offered Gates Foundation funds to initially incentivize the development of technology which tracks individual vaccination status through subcutaneously injected particles readable by smart phone technology. In fact, numerous international vaccine projects spearheaded by the Gates Foundation over the past several decades have ended with public scandal, legal retaliation from both governments and private institutions, and the injury and deaths of intended beneficiaries of those programs.
Gates Foundation vaccine projects which ended in tragedy include the following:
- A polio mass-vaccination program in India that led to 490,000 children developing non-polio acute flaccid paralysis
- An experimental HPV vaccine trial on girls and women in India which caused over 1,200 documented cases of severe adverse effects and 7 deaths
- An experimental malaria vaccine trial in Africa which caused severe side effects including seizures and paralysis in 1,048 children, as well as the death of 151 infants
Despite the dubious history of Gates Foundation projects, Gates has been lauded as an expert by major media outlets in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, regardless of his lack of training or experience in epidemiology. The Gates Foundation has funneled millions into coronavirus vaccine development via pharmaceutical companies working to fast-track new coronavirus vaccines, bypassing critical steps in testing for safety and efficacy.
Gates has explicitly expressed support for fast-tracking coronavirus vaccines and implementation of national tracking systems to enforce compulsory vaccination of all citizens before life “returns to normal.” More worrying is the fact that numerous public officials, including Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, have begun to echo this intent.
Many Americans may consider the possibility of centrally tracked, mandatory vaccination with an untested product rushed to market to be remote. However, a Maryland law was already enacted in early 2019 which requires physicians to document and track patient vaccination records in ImmuNet, Maryland’s government tracking database system.
What Is ImmuNet?
ImmuNet is the name of Maryland’s vaccine tracking database, similar to various vaccine tracking systems now implemented in most states across the country, such as Florida SHOTS and the Connecticut CIRTS system. ImmuNet was originally implemented in 2004, purportedly for entirely voluntary tracking until 2013, when legislators passed reporting requirements for certain physicians.
A more recent bill, HB0316, aimed to amend and reenact pre-existing ImmuNet law. This bill passed with a 139-0 vote in the House and a 47-0 vote in the Senate. It was signed by Governor Hogan on May 13, 2019 and enacted on October 1, 2019, replacing the previously enacted 2013 legislation.
The new legal requirements enacted in 2019 had been rolled out as voluntary suggested guidance recommended to Maryland physicians, and was practiced by many of them since at least early 2018. Numerous Maryland healthcare providers have anonymously reported to Informed Choice Maryland Board members that administrators of insurance companies — particularly Medicaid — instructed them on how they would eventually be required to record patient data, as early as February of 2018.
What Information Is Captured in ImmuNet?
The ImmuNet system tracks personally identifying information, including specific vaccine doses administered to each patient and the dates they were received. While the law doesn’t currently require healthcare providers to record parental or patient refusal of vaccines, missed or refused doses recommended by the CDC are easily trackable through automated systems like ImmuNet, and the system currently includes an option to explicitly report vaccine refusal, which healthcare providers are actively encouraged to use.
Who Has Access To ImmuNet Data?
The following public and private institutions may legally access ImmuNet data in accordance with HIPAA law;
- Childcare facilities
- Healthcare Providers
- Health Insurance Providers
- Health Maintenance Organizations
- Institutions of Higher Learning (with immunization requirements for admission)
- Local Health Departments
- Long-term Care Facilities
- Managed Care Organizations
- Non-profit Health Service Plans
- Schools and School-based Health Centers
- Patients (seeking their own records)
- Parents and Guardians (seeking their minor children’s health records)
- Any other users designated by Maryland state officials
Can Citizens Opt Out?
Maryland residents may inform their healthcare providers or Maryland state officials that they wish to opt out of participation in ImmuNet. However, Maryland residents are seldom informed that opting out does not delete their existing data from the registry or exempt them from existing data being stored. Citizens can opt out of ImmuNet by submitting an online request here. While this process was implemented to prevent personal information from being accessed by the entities listed above, personal data is still submitted to the database. Opting out also won’t retract data that has been previously shared with others who had access to it before a citizen opted out. Citizens are entitled to a copy of their ImmuNet records upon request, which can be submitted here.
The only way for a Maryland citizen to see a healthcare provider without submitting personal information to ImmuNet is to choose a provider who opts out of participation in ImmuNet. Currently, these providers would only include those who choose to opt out of participation with all insurance companies.
Is Covid-19 Data Tracked in Maryland?
In addition to Maryland ImmuNet, Governor Hogan has recently mentioned new capture of information on recovered Covid-19 patients which will be used for clinical trials and research as well as contact tracing. This data, once submitted, may be accessed by any number of existing or yet-to-be developed tracking systems.
It’s a short leap to envision how existing state and federal tracking systems already in place could be populated with existing patient data, and easily used to implement mandatory vaccination and tracking of every citizen in the United States and abroad. Such systems provide the opportunity for ominous restrictions on the civil liberties of every American, which have already come under threat during the Covid-19 pandemic.