It’s a weird time. As we (hopefully) ride the final wave of this pandemic, many of us – particularly frontline workers – are getting their anxiously-awaited vaccines. It’s definitely something to be excited about, and of course, something you’ll want to share. Doing that by sharing your COVID-19 Vaccination Card on social media, however, is probably a bad idea.
It doesn’t seem particularly risky given that it doesn’t seem to have that much information on it, but believe it or not, flaunting your vaccination card could make you vulnerable to identity theft. Savvy thieves know how to make the most of whatever information you put out there, and from time to time, scammers can use guesswork to fill in the gaps in what may not seem like sensitive information.
According to Ellen Gutoskey at Mental Floss, “even if nobody ends up using your vaccination card to drain your bank account, they could use it to create counterfeit cards—something that’s already been reported in the UK, according to the Better Business Bureau”.
Gutoskey writes that by sharing your vaccination card online, you’re also interfering with your own right to privacy. Healthcare providers around the world are mandated to protect their patients’ medical information. In the USA, at least, if you choose to publicly disclose that you’ve received the vaccine, HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) regulations – this right to have your medical information kept private – may no longer apply.
Gutoskey quotes Elizabeth Litten, chief privacy and HIPAA compliance officer at Fox Rothschild LLP: “The information on the vaccination card is in most cases protected health information subject to HIPAA protection, but once it’s shared by the individual via social media, it no longer enjoys that protection and may be used for medical identity theft or as a means of hacking into patient portals”.
Of course, if your social media pages are all private, whatever you post will be – presumably – more confidential, and therefore pose less risk. Perhaps it’s better to be safe than sorry, though, and opt to show off your brand new immunity with something else – like a cute meme or a picture of your face. I don’t know – get creative. Just avoid posting that COVID-19 Vaccination Card – and the information on it –