In an Aug. 2 internal memo released anonymously to The Epoch Times, UCSD Health stated, “given the current environment,” the badge tags are an important update to COVID-19 protocols.
According to the memo, the badge tags will provide a “visual cue regarding a team member’s vaccination status,” and will be available this week for all vaccinated employees.
“There will also be a special thank you to recognize all employees for your hard work,” the memo added.
Obtaining a badge tag will require proof of vaccination, the memo added. However, if employees don’t have any vaccine verifications, “we will evaluate CDC vaccine cards on a case-by-case basis.”
The badge tag is tamperproof and will be attached to an employee’s ID to show vaccination status.
Under the new protocols, unvaccinated health care workers will be required to wear N95 masks “in all areas of health care” while under strict enforcement.
Regarding testing for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus that causes COVID-19, vaccinated staff showing no symptoms are encouraged, but not required, to receive a one-time COVID-19 test. Unvaccinated employees showing no symptoms will have to test for the virus twice weekly.
UCSD Health CEO Patty Maysent did not return a call seeking comment.
Jackie Carr, Executive Director of Communications and Media Relations, did not respond to an email about the badge tags as of publishing time.
As the debate over privacy laws concerning vaccination status continues to rage nationwide, a number of health care providers have already approved vaccine badges or stickers for their employees.
Salem Health Hospitals and Clinics in Texas, for example, began issuing green stickers for employees, volunteers, and providers who have been fully vaccinated. On June 1, Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee began distributing “vaccinated” ID badges to employees.
“The stickers allow employees to be quickly identified as fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and will assist with streamlining business and operational processes such as for in-person meetings and in non-clinical areas to quickly identify employees who are fully vaccinated and not required to wear a mask,” according to the center’s website.
In response to the many patients asking about the vaccine status of employees, the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha said it has begun distributing ID badge stickers to the fully vaccinated.
“Since all UNMC students, faculty and staff must comply with the requirements at our clinical partner sites, UNMC also will be distributing unique ID badge stickers to individuals who are fully vaccinated and have their COVID-19 vaccination recorded in the Health Tracking System.
“This reinforces our commitment to the policies being utilized by our clinical partners to protect their patients and staff,” the center’s website stated.
Facing a backlash, Tennessee-based Ballad Health nixed plans to launch a “badge buddies” program—blue badges for vaccinated employees, orange for unvaccinated.
Ohio-based Attorney Thomas Renz, who is fielding numerous lawsuits related to the government’s response to the pandemic, including whistleblower allegations of vaccine-related deaths numbering in the tens of thousands, said he believes the vaccine badges are “beyond unethical.”
“They should be illegal,” Renz told The Epoch Times—no different than requiring “anyone who has herpes to have to wear a gold star on their forehead.”
“I’m calling on any business that wants to do this to any employee to show whether they have STDs [sexually transmitted diseases] and how sexual[ly] active they are,” he added facetiously.
Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), vaccination information is classed as Protected Health Information.
However, HIPPA “only applies to HIPPAA-covered entities—healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses—and their business associates,” according to the May 25, 2021, HIPPA Journal.
“If an employer asks an employee to provide proof that they have been vaccinated in order to allow that individual to work without wearing a facemask, that is not a HIPAA violation as HIPAA does not apply to most employers.”
Moreover, it would not be a HIPAA violation for an employer to ask an employee’s health care provider for proof of vaccination.
“It would however be a HIPAA violation for the employee’s healthcare provider to disclose that information to the employer unless the individual had provided authorization to do so.”
Renz said the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution regarding illegal search and seizure provides a “stronger legal argument” against vaccine IDs.
“I think this is very much a right to privacy thing,” he said.
While federal Equal Employment Opportunity laws do not prevent an employer to require employee vaccinations, they also do not prevent or limit employers from offering incentives to voluntarily disclose their vaccination status.
By the same token, employers may legally offer incentives for employees to be vaccinated.