Gov. Andrew Cuomo Urges for Protection of Undocumented Individuals as COVID-19 Vaccine Rolls Out
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo urged Tuesday that underserved communities and undocumented immigrants be protected as a federal COVID-19 vaccination program rolls out, the governor's office said in a statement.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo urged Tuesday that underserved communities and undocumented immigrants be protected as a federal COVID-19 vaccination program rolls out, the governor's office said in a statement. Cuomo and coalition groups addressed the concern in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in a call for a "fair and equal vaccination program" that ensures minority communities are reached.
"The federal government's current plan to vaccinate Americans neglects key priorities that we need to effectively distribute the vaccine to millions of New Yorkers," Cuomo said in a statement. "We need to focus on Black, Brown, Asian and low-income communities that are historically underserved by the healthcare institutions that are key to the federal government's plan."
Because the program requires that recipients of the vaccine disclose personal information, which can be shared with federal agencies, immigrants without proper documentation might be turned off from taking the vaccine.
In his letter, a modified system is proposed that can track vaccinated individuals without releasing private information.
"Obviously, a successful program administering the vaccine is critical to national health. But for the vaccination program to be successful, it must have the full participation of all the American people. It is in everyone's interest for all of us to work together to encourage our respective constituents to participate in the vaccination program," the letter reads.
"Further, it is certainly not in the national interest for individuals to have valid concerns preventing such participation, and the undocumented community has specific and valid cause for concern in providing the unnecessary, irrelevant, and sensitive information to federal agencies."
Cuomo announced on Twitter Wednesday that the first delivery of the Pfizer vaccine will be enough for 170,000 New Yorkers.
The doses are expected to be delivered by Dec. 15.
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