Is The Vaxamillion Database Subject To Open Records Law? Some Lawmakers Think So
This story was updated at 3 p.m., Thursday, May 27, 2021
More than 2.7 million Ohioans have signed up for the state’s vaxamillion drawings. But there are questions as to whether information Ohioans gave to be eligible for that drawing could be subject to public records laws.
Over the course of five weeks, five COVID-19 vaccinated adults could win $1 million dollars and five vaccinated minors could win full-rides to Ohio colleges through the Vax-A-Million lottery.
Normally, government records involving health information of individuals is not subject to public records laws. But some Ohio lawmakers, like Sen Andrew Brenner (R-Delaware) think, by waiving rights to health information, the Ohioans who registered for the vaxamillion drawing have essentially created a public database.
“I believe it’s public record and I believe all 2.7 million who signed their name voluntarily to the database so that we, as the public, can look them up and see them," Brenner says.
In a written statement, the Ohio Lottery says it does not keep the data from vaxamillion registration and referred questions on the issue to the Ohio Department of Health.
UPDATED AT 3PM. THURSDAY MAY 27th -
Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud says she does not believe the vaxamillion data is subject to public record requests. But she says if lawmakers think it is, they should insert language into the state budget that would make certain that information is kept private.