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Cuomo asks feds for equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution, removal of ID info collection

Cuomo sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar Tuesday, asking for equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution to minority communities. He also complained that the current federal plan will require states to collect and share ID information from those who get the vaccine.

News 12 Staff

Dec 1, 2020, 11:02 PM

Updated 1,299 days ago

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that he is trying to make sure a COVID-19 vaccine is distributed fairly once available.
As the nation gets closer to coronavirus vaccine distribution, Minerva Perez from OLA of Eastern Long Island is worried.
"If there is a vaccine out there that is going to allow us to have our lives back, we all need access to that," says Perez.
Perez says she's worried that underserved minorities and undocumented immigrants could be left behind when it comes to vaccinations. She pointed to high infection rates in Black, brown and other minority communities that she says have not had the same access to convenient COVID-19 testing locations. Cuomo agrees.
"Distributing the vaccine is going to be the greatest governmental undertaking since COVID began," says Cuomo.
Cuomo sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar Tuesday, asking for equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution to minority communities. He also complained that the current federal plan will require states to collect and share ID information from those who get the vaccine.
The governor has said that the information, if it comes from an undocumented person, will be given over to immigration officials, creating a chilling effect on some choosing whether to get the vaccine or not.
"We can identify people without using indices of citizenship," says Cuomo. "There is no reason why we have to send citizenship data to HSS about a vaccine."
Perez and 53 others signed off on the letter, which Cuomo also sent to President-elect Joe Biden. Perez says at a time when the country needs to get the vaccine as fast as possible, adding a citizenship test is the wrong way to go.
"Whether someone is undocumented or not should not hold them back from getting a vaccination," says Perez. "The politicization of this is the worst thing to do."


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