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Members of the Spanish speaking community we serve on WhatsApp have sent multiple requests for information regarding the vaccine for immigrants in New York. Here is a list compiling what we know so far, and how you can get the vaccine if you are eligible, regardless of immigration status.
Who is eligible to receive the vaccine?
The State of New York is determining eligibility by phases. As for February 8th, Phase 1A and 1B are currently the only individuals eligible to receive a vaccine in NYS/NYC.
Phase 1a and 1b include: home health aides; teachers and education workers, including childcare staff; first responders; public safety workers; public transit workers, now including TLC licensees; food and grocery store workers, now including restaurant workers; New Yorkers experiencing homelessness who reside in congregate settings as well as staff; staff at COVID-19 testing and vaccination locations, (here is the link for the complete list).
Starting on February 15
Adult New Yorkers with certain conditions and comorbidities will be eligible for the vaccine: this includes people who have cancer (current or in remission, including 9/11-related cancers), chronic kidney disease, pulmonary disease, intellectual and developmental disabilities including Down syndrome, heart conditions (including but not limited to heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, or hypertension (high blood pressure)), immunocompromised state ((weakened immune system), severe obesity, pregnancy, Sickle cell disease or Thalassemia, Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus, Cerebrovascular disease, neurologic conditions including but not limited to Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, liver disease.
Do I have to give proof of my immigration status?
No. Counties, New York State, and the Federal Government will not require immigration status to provide a vaccine for immigrants.
Where can I get the vaccine?
There are multiple locations that you can get a vaccine from: New York State operated facilities, NYC Health + Hospitals, and local pharmacies, urgent care facilities, and community centers. To receive a vaccine, you must make an appointment ahead of time.
How can I get the vaccine, and what documents should I bring?
Step 1: Eligibility
Make sure you are eligible for vaccination. The list provided above encompasses a general idea of who is eligible under phase 1A and 1B, for detailed descriptions go to this link.
Step 2: Selecting a Facility
Find a location near you to schedule an appointment:
Using this link, you will be able to locate the nearest centers to your zip code. Once you put your zip code, you can then proceed to schedule an appointment with the facility of choice. Once you select a facility, you will be prompted to their respective forms.
Here is an example of how the form might look:
(screenshot from actual Rite Aid online scheduler– accessed Feb. 10, 2020)
Because the demand for the vaccine is high, some facilities might not have spots available— in this case we recommend contacting your primary care for options, or checking availability in the NYC Hub, NYC Health + Hospitals or at Federally Operated Facilities.
If spots are not available, check back constantly.
Step 3: Proof of eligibility
Once you have scheduled an appointment, you will have to fill this form. This will, once again, confirm your eligibility. It is required by the state that you must fill this form online prior to getting the vaccine, but after scheduling your appointment. This is because the form will ask you for the date of the scheduled appointment.
During the day of your appointment you will have to confirm your eligibility. You can use a recent pay stub, a letter from your employer with proper heading, employee ID, or proof of employment (you only need to show one). In addition, you will need to prove your age with one of these items:
- Driver’s license or non-driver ID,
- Birth certificate issued by a state or local government
- Current U.S passport or valid foreign passport
- Permanent resident card
- Certificate of naturalization or citizenship
- Life insurance policy with birthdate
- Marriage certificate with birth date
Proof of residency may include either:
One of the following:
- State or government-issued ID
- Statement from landlord
- Current rent receipt or lease
- Mortgage records
Two of the following:
- Statement from another person
- Current mail
- School records
The vaccine will require two doses, usually scheduled 21 days apart. While there has been some misinformation running in social media, the CDC and health experts have confirmed that the vaccine is safe. The vaccine has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug administration (FDA) after undergoing rigorous studies and meeting the safety criteria.
How much does it cost?
It’s free. The vaccine for immigrants is free. The vaccine is free for everyone. Everyone. While some facilities will ask you for an insurance card to cover administration costs, you will not be turned away if you do not have one. It is in the best interest of the country for individuals to be vaccinated, so you will receive the vaccine as long as you are eligible.
Does this guide to the vaccine for immigrants also apply to undocumented individuals?
Yes. As long as you qualify under the state’s guidelines and present the documents stated above, there should be no problem.
Vaccines for COVID-19 are on high demand. If you see an appointment available, take it— regardless of where it is, or when it is available.