The province, which has cited privacy issues as a reason for not sharing COVID-19 data, asked citizens to disclose the names of their unvaccinated friends and family Thursday (June 25).
“B.C. is among those leading the world with over 75% of people 12+ vaccinated with dose 1,” read a tweet from the B.C. government.
“Thank you! Next, let’s get to 80%! Tag a friend or family member who still needs their first dose and help them register here: gov.bc.ca/GetVaccinated.”
The government tweet, which was posted on June 24, has since been deleted.
Initial responses, if factual, saw private information about British Columbians’ personal health shared with the public online.
“Assuring individuals their information will be kept confidential is essential to the establishment of a trust-based relationship between the Ministry of Health and British Columbians,” reads the province’s website.
“As stewards of British Columbians’ personal health information, the Ministry of Health takes its responsibility for privacy protection very seriously.”
The ministry apologized Friday for the language used in the tweet in an email to Black Press Media.
“We are working with staff to ensure this does not happen again.”
‘Snitching’ on the unvaccinated
Jason Woywada, executive director of BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, said “it looks like the government is encouraging and creating a social media snitch line for the unvaccinated.”
He said the message was either deliberate government action to try and increase vaccinations or a problematic oversight that saw the government ask its own citizens to reveal someone else’s public health information.
“Either scenario is problematic and shows a disregard for important personal health information.”
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