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Ore. Agency Shares Private Vaccine Data of 40K State Staff

The external relations director of the Oregon Department of Administrative Services accidentally emailed the private vaccination statuses of about 40,000 state employees to different news outlets.

vaccine being drawn from a vial
Shutterstock/Numstocker
(TNS) — Oregon’s central administrative agency on Monday inadvertently released the vaccination status of more than 40,000 individual state employees to The Oregonian/OregonLive and another media outlet.

A spreadsheet sent to the news organizations was supposed to contain the latest vaccination rates and vaccine exemption rates for each executive branch agency overseen by Gov. Kate Brown, who in August issued a mandate for many state employees to get vaccinated by Monday. The Oregonian/OregonLive has requested daily updates from the state recently but only aggregate figures for each agency.

Instead, Oregon Department of Administrative Services External Relations Director Adam Crawford emailed a file to The Oregonian/OregonLive and the Salem Statesman Journal Monday containing vaccination status by name for all executive branch employees: whether they are verified as vaccinated, received a medical or religious exemption, their vaccination record or exemption request is still being processed, or they had not submitted any information.

Crawford took the blame for the data release. “It’s a mistake on my part,” he said in a phone call.

Ben Morris, a spokesperson for SEIU 503, said the release of information violates an agreement the union signed with the state in September which required the state to keep individuals’ vaccination information confidential.

But Morris said that even “more concerning is that one of the main things that we heard from members who were vaccine hesitant is they were concerned about their privacy in this situation. This is a breach of trust at the worst possible time.”

Morris said the union is still deciding how to respond.

The Oregonian/OregonLive will not publish the full dataset online, as it does with other state employee datasets such as salary information and public employee pensions.

The data show, as The Oregonian/OregonLive has reported, that large state agencies with low verified as vaccinated rates among their employees include Oregon State Police (74%), the Department of Corrections (70%) and the Forestry Department (65%). The corrections department and state police agency granted some of the highest rates of religious exemptions — 19% and 14% respectively.

©2021 Advance Local Media LLC. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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