The personal data commissioner said on Tuesday there was no problem with publishing the medical history of people who have died from Covid, a day after the health ministry said it would not publish details of a deceased person’s vaccination record.
The decision followed a similar move recently to withhold information regarding a deceased person’s underlying health problems.
Commissioner for personal data protection Irene Loizidou Nikolaidou told the Cyprus Mail that “according to the regulations, personal data protection does not apply to companies and the deceased”.
Citing personal data reasons and without previous warning, the ministry said late on Monday it would no longer provide patient details, including whether they had been vaccinated.
According to the health ministry, “due to personal data, complete information cannot be given with details of vaccination dates, date of illness, hospitalisation, or if these individuals had been ill before vaccination, or before the time it took for their immune system to shield after vaccination.”
“I don’t know where they found this, there is no issue of personal data protection,” the commissioner added.
But according to the ministry this information may raise “doubts about vaccine efficacy and hesitation about the vaccination programme,” which appears to be the reason for withholding the data previously available to the public.
The decision came as a number of those who died from the virus had been vaccinated with at least one dose of the vaccine.
Following several deaths of fully vaccinated people, officials and experts told the Cyprus Mail that fatalities were expected as the vaccines do not provide full protection against Covid-19.
Earlier this year, the health ministry also stopped referring to whether people who died from the virus had underlying health conditions. The decision was explained by its advisor and sociologist Constantinos Fellas who said this shows respect to the derived families and allows them to grief.
Nikolaidou said that since the names are not released, there should be no issue with the families regarding the release of medical information.