Romania: The discontinuation of the publication of vaccination data is taking new dimensions

Romania: The discontinuation of the publication of vaccination data is taking new dimensions

The issue that arose from the transparency that the Minister of Health, Vlad Voiculescu, wanted to impose – responding to the great pressure of the journalists – on the data concerning vaccination, has taken on great proportions.

Citizens’ organizations, as well as dozens of journalists, in an open letter to Prime Minister Florin Cîțu, after the publication of the data on data.gov.ro, where they were posted for only a few days, expressed their concern about this decision, but also the message that the assignment of the case to the Prime Minister’s Board of Auditors sends to the citizens. This move can be a very dangerous precedent, they underlined.

Transparency, they stressed, is an essential factor for a relationship of trust between the authorities and the citizens, especially in times of crisis, but also a legal obligation.

“The scandal with the blocking of the publication of all the data related to the vaccination campaign by the Ministry of Health headed by Vlad Voiculescu, arose after the pressure from the ‘state within the state’ officials with special status”, stressed the USR-PLUS MEP, Dragoș Pîslaru.

“Obviously, no name has been made public, but just the fact that it is becoming known how many people are ‘experts’ and how the vaccination campaign unfolds outside the classic programming platform is disturbing!”, The USR-PLUS MEP underlined.

Pîslaru recalled that he himself had faced a similar refusal to try to be transparent when he was Labor Minister in the Cioloș government.

Most of all, he said, the institutions with staff enjoying special status were opposed.

As revealed by the Buletin de București, 60% of the vaccinations in the first days of March (on the days when the data were posted on data.gov.ro) took place outside the vaccination centers of the official platform.

Official figures released by Health Minister Vlad Voiculescu on the official platform, which launched on March 5, reveal the existence of a parallel vaccination system, the hotnews website notes, citing the Buletin de Bucuresti.

According to the publication, apart from the official vaccination centers, which are accessible to the national platform and where vaccinations are planned, there are four times as many centers that do not appear on the platform – from hospitals to institutions belonging to the armed forces or the Ministry of Interior. Almost 80% of the centers in Bucharest do not appear on the RoVaccinare platform. Of the 48 centers, only 11 are accessible via a platform, while the rest are either closed or blocked by the Institute of Public Health.

“The action of the Minister of Health Vlad Voiculescu to publish the list of Covid-19 tests per prefecture is profoundly correct, but there must be some approvals”, said in a statement to RFI the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Health, Nelu Tătaru, who clarified that Vlad Voiculescu will be summoned to a hearing in Parliament if the government does not clear up this issue.

The former Minister of Health (PNL) also referred to the revelations of civil society about the existence of a parallel vaccination circuit in Bucharest. He clarified that he had talked to representatives of CNCAV and that next week explanations will be given while these vaccination centers “will be included in the open circuit”.

Interior Minister Lucian Bode says it is not normal for the Ministry of Health to publish data on the vaccination of ministry staff. He claims that almost 27,000 of the employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have been vaccinated, that is, half of those who expressed the desire to be vaccinated. He also considers that “the legislation was observed” even though the employees of the ministry did not plan the vaccination on the vaccination platform.

Bode told TVR 1 yesterday that following the publication of the list of all vaccination centers by the Ministry of Health, online sites of the institutions of the defence system, public order and secret services were listed.

Commenting, the president of the PNL Bucharest Local Organization and former Minister of Labor, Violeta Alexandru, stressed that there is no issue with the publication of data on vaccination, because, as she said, it is a statistical data and cited the example of the USA./ibna