December 1, 2020
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and a coalition of groups, including the Arab-American Family Support Center (AAFSC), issued a letter to Department for Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar urging the federal administration to support underserved communities and protect undocumented immigrants in the federal COVID-19 vaccination program.
The current federal program lacks funding to bolster states’ efforts to distribute the vaccine to Black, Brown, Asian and low-income communities which are underserved by private healthcare facilities. It also requires states to execute a data sharing agreement which includes providing identification data that could be shared with multiple federal agencies, including immigration agencies, which could dissuade undocumented immigrants from taking the vaccine.
Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, New York State has proposed a modified system which would protect residents’ personal information and help ensure confidence in the vaccine and its distribution program.