Many Undocumented Immigrants Denied COVID-19 Vaccines


Many undocumented immigrants across the country—including essential workers, the elderly, and individuals with pre-existing conditions— have been unable to receive COVID-19 vaccines due to lack of government issued identification. While most states offer alternatives to identification cards, such as proof of residency through addressed mail, many experts say the requirements still impose barriers on immigrants, especially those without permanent housing. Agricultural workers have been especially affected by this barrier, despite working throughout the pandemic and serving as the backbone of the American food supply chain. According to Melissa Taveras of the Florida Immigrant Commission, reports from immigrants who were denied the vaccine have been flooding the immigration group’s hotline.

Immigrant advocates in Florida have begun calling for an end to the requirement. In response, White House press secretary Jen Psaki has assured the public of President Biden’s support for the vaccination of immigrants. More specifically, in a press briefing, she stated “the more people who are vaccinated, whether they’re undocumented or not, the safer we are as a country, and that’s certainly the president’s point of view.” Hopefully, these words will turn into action.

Massachusetts has emphasized through their website that individuals without identification, social security numbers, or insurance information will not need to provide anything to receive a vaccine. However, the issue in Florida and several other states illuminates the barriers undocumented individuals are met with, that many citizens do not have to worry about. It is these barriers the government must be committed to destroying.


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