Gov. Mike Dunleavy directed the Alaska Dept. of Law to begin an investigation of a potential illegal sharing of information with people working for the Municipality of Anchorage who were seeking COVID-19 vaccine data on Alaskans.
An April 15 announcement stated that a group of Alaskans were contacted by individuals working for Anchorage after the municipality received names and contact information of those individuals through an “unauthorized action by staff at the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.”
The Watchman has received reports from Anchorage residents who say they were contacted by people working for the Municipality of Anchorage this week asking if they could schedule an appointment for them to get a COVID injection. This comes on the hells of Monday’s announcement by Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson who said she would not rescind COVID mandates until the city reaches 70% vaccination for everyone qualified to get the shots.
According to the April 15 announcement by the governor’s office, the state does have a “data sharing agreement” with Anchorage’s Health Department, but the incident in question “did not occur through that channel.”
Dunleavy has directed Health Commissioner Adam Crum to conduct an internal review of all the department’s data sharing agreements.
ALASKA WATCHMAN DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX
“Alaskans value their right to privacy, especially sensitive health information, and they have a right to know how that information may or may not be used,” Dunleavy said. “While the data shared appears to be limited, I apologize to any Alaskan affected by this action. The Department of Law will investigate the facts of the event while Health and Social Services will report back to me with new policies and procedures that will prevent this from happening again.”
Maria Bahr of the Alaska Dept. of Law said she could not respond to Alaska Watchman questions about the incident because “senior leadership just learned of this, and the Governor wanted to act quickly to let the public know. However, that means that our investigation has only just begun, and it will take some time to make sure we have accurate information.”
It is unknown how many Alaskans were affected by the data leak or what the aim of Municipality of Anchorage was in seeking the information.