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13 Jan, 2022 14:59

Biden admin flip-flops on tracking Covid jab refusers

The White House previously vowed that the vaccination status of US citizens wouldn’t be tracked on a federal level
Biden admin flip-flops on tracking Covid jab refusers

A US government agency in Washington, DC has said it will make a list of those who refuse to get vaccinated against Covid-19 for religious reasons. The move goes against earlier promises by the Biden administration.

The Pretrial Services Agency (PSA) for the District of Columbia announced its intention to create what it called the “Employee Religious Exception Request Information System” in a notice on Tuesday.

According to the agency, which assists officers in DC with formulating release recommendations and supervising defendants awaiting trial, the new system will store the names and “personal religious information” of employees who file “religious accommodation requests for religious exception from the federally mandated vaccination requirement.”

The PSA didn’t specify the reasons for compiling such a list, or how the personal data on it would be used.

It only said vaguely that the system would “assist the Agency in the collecting, storing, dissemination, and disposal of employee religious exemption request information collected and maintained by the Agency.”

The PSA is a small local agency, but conservative outlet the Daily Signal suggested that “likely, the Biden administration is using it to stealth test a policy it intends to roll out across the whole government.”

There is no proof to support this assumption. However, the White House had previously promised that would not store data on the vaccination status of Americans at a federal level.

In August, President Joe Biden’s Covid-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients assured during a briefing that “there will be no federal vaccination database. As with all other vaccines, the information gets held at the state and local level.” Zients was replying to a question about ways to deal with the rise in counterfeited jab cards, after more businesses and education institutions across the US began demanding proof of vaccination.

On Monday, the Biden administration’s vaccine or test mandate for private employers entered into force despite still being contested in the US Supreme Court.

The White House, which had previously told millions of federal employees and contractors to be fully vaccinated, now demands that those working for companies with more than 100 employees receive two shots of a coronavirus vaccine or get tested at least once a week.

More than 60% of the population has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in the US, which has become the world’s worst-hit country, with more than 63 million infections and over 843,000 deaths related to the virus.