Wisconsin health department accidentally exposes email addresses of 907 COVID-19 vaccine registrants

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Two Walworth County (Wis.) Department of Health & Human Services employees accidentally released the personal information of 907 COVID-19 vaccine registrants over the past month, according to a March 14 Lake Geneva Regional News report. 

On three separate dates — Feb. 16, Feb. 24 and Feb. 25 — emails were sent to a list of individuals eligible for vaccines. The email addresses of each registrant were entered into the "to" line of the message, which allowed each recipient to view the addresses of other registrants, according to the report. 

The department said the only data exposed were registrants' emails and the fact they were eligible for the vaccine. The health department's privacy officer identified the two employees responsible for the error and concluded that the breach was unintentional. 

The two employees have been retrained to avoid future breach incidents and the department also updated its Microsoft Outlook software to increase the visibility of the blind carbon copy option to help prevent similar errors. 

 

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