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HIPAA and Covid-19 Vaccines: Can businesses demand proof of vaccinations?

Posted at 3:23 PM, May 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-20 18:12:44-04

WACO, TX — As mask restrictions lift for those fully vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine it leaves a question for many. Can businesses force you to prove that a vaccination was given? In short, there really isn't a good answer for it yet.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was passed in 1996 which covered places like hospitals, doctor's offices and health insurance companies from sharing patient information.

Entities that aren't covered in the HIPAA regulations is other business like restaurants and retail shops.

"That is going to be getting even more sticky," Amy Mersiovsky said, Director of the Department of Nursing at Texas A&M Central Texas.

Not all businesses are allowing vaccinated customers to come in mask free. Lula Jane's Bakery in Waco still requires everyone to wear a mask.

"Safety and health, that's really the bottom line." Owner Nancy Grayson said.

Grayson rather not guess who is vaccinated and who is not, it's easier to just require masks for everyone. Even as restrictions are lifted elsewhere.

"We're pretty clear about expecting and anticipating everyone to wear a mask when they come in, we're just not ready to move onto the next level," Grayson said.

With vaccination proof and it being a privacy concern or not is all in a gray area that Mersiovsky predicts will resolve itself shortly.

"The legal system and the legislative system will get involved ultimately," Mersiovsky said.

Until then, Mersiovsky says it's still best to have your mask on you because rules vary business to business.