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Romania: Discontinuation of vaccination data is taking on new dimensions

The issue that arose from the transparency that the Minister of Health, Vlad Voiculescu, wanted to impose – in response to the great pressure of journalists – on the data related to 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 data on data.gov.ro, where they were posted only for a few days, expressed their concern about this decision, but also the message that the assignment of the case to the Board of Auditors of the Prime Minister sends to the citizens. This move could be a very dangerous precedent, they underlined.

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

“The scandal with the blocking of the publication of all data related to the vaccination campaign by the Ministry of Health led by Vlad Voiculescu, arose after the pressure from the officials of the ‘state within the state’ with special status”, stressed USR- MEP PLUS, 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 takes place outside the classic programming platform is worrying!”, The USR-PLUS MP underlined.

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

Above all, he said, staffed institutions enjoying special status were against.

As revealed by the Bulletin de București, 60% of vaccinations in the first days of March (in 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 Bulletin de Bucuresti.

According to the publication, in addition to 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 through one platform, while the rest are 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 for the prefecture is deeply 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 called to a hearing in Parliament if the government does not clarify the issue.

The former Minister of Health (PNL) also referred to civil society revelations about the existence of a parallel vaccination circuit in Bucharest. He clarified that he had talked to the representatives of CNCAV and that explanations will be given next week 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 vaccination of ministry staff. He claims that almost 27,000 employees at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have been vaccinated, that is, half of those who expressed a desire to be vaccinated. He also considers that “legislation was respected” even though ministry employees had not planned vaccination on the vaccination platform.

Bode told TVR 1 yesterday that after the publication of the list of all vaccination centers by the Ministry of Health, the websites of the institutions of the defense system, public order and secret services were listed.

Commenting, the president of the Local Organization of PNL in Bucharest 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 mentioned the example of the USA.

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