Advocates say immigrants fear legal repercussions of data sharing needed for COVID-19 vaccine

Organizations that work with undocumented people say the current federal government vaccine proposal is discriminatory and doesn’t benefit immigrants.

News 12 Staff

Dec 2, 2020, 3:20 AM

Updated 1,263 days ago

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Public access to a COVID-19 vaccine is on the horizon, but many people who are not citizens say they are afraid of the legal repercussions.
News 12 is hearing two big concerns from people who are undocumented, as well as the and organizations that work with them. They are worried the state won't have enough funding to get the vaccine to their communities and that people will be too afraid to get it, especially considering the federal government's calls for states to enter a data-sharing agreement before anyone's vaccinated.
That agreement requires the state to identify each person who's vaccinated and suggests using their Social Security, passport, or driver's license ID numbers, which not everyone will have if they are undocumented.
The information they do have and give could be shared with other federal agencies.
"Giving that kind of information to the federal government--knowing that the government might share it with other agencies...is going to absolutely create a significant amount of fear," says Carola Otero Bracco, executive director of Neighbors Link.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is also recognizing the hesitation.
"Anybody who reads that language who knows what they're talking about - a little bell goes off and it says they're going to share that with ICE," says Gov. Cuomo
Cuomo pointed out that nearly 80% of the public needs to be vaccinated in order for the strategy to be effective. He's asking for the vaccination plan to be modified.
He wants vaccinated people to be tracked without information that could jeopardize their presence in the U.S. - and for the information about them that is collected to be kept private.
Cuomo is also asking for more funding.


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