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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?
Updated: May 13th, 2021
People 12 and older are eligible for the vaccine. Individuals who are between 12 and 17 years of age can only receive the Pfizer vaccine. While appointments can be scheduled at your closest pharmacy or clinic, many vaccination sites offer walk-in services.
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Sites offering Walk-in vaccinations: Link
We are seeing reports that tourists visiting New York City are now eligible to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the five boroughs. The cost is free, and appointments are not necessary. You do not need additional documentation aside from an ID/Passport that is not expired.
Updated April 22nd, 2021:
All New Yorkers 16 and older are now available to get the COVID-19 Vaccine. People who live outside the state but work or study in New York are also eligible to get the vaccine. This includes paid and unpaid workers.
Note: People who are 16 or 17 years old are only eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.
New Yorkers who are 50 years of age or older are now eligible for walkins at the following centers. No need to make an appointment. Here is the list of the centers offering walking in vaccinations: Locations
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.
Non-citizen New Yorkers can get the vaccine, and you don’t need to show any proof of immigration status
You do need to show that you live or work in New York and that you are at least 16 years old. Here is the list of acceptable documents to prove this. And EpicenterNYC made a folder of templates for some of these forms in case you need to write a letter to show your employment or residency.
Need help getting an appointment? Here are some websites and volunteer groups that can assist
- You can book a vaccine over the phone. New York State’s hotline is 1-833-NYS-4VAX, and it’s available in six languages. New York City’s hotline is 1-877-VAX-4NYC, and it’s available in seven languages.
- Turbovax combines the appointments available from multiple sign-up sites.
- EpicenterNYC is helping New Yorkers secure vaccine appointments. You can sign up to get help here.
- EpicenterNYC also made this helpful video about how to get an appointment, and has fliers in a bunch of languages about how to get an appointment.
- Lots of local mutual aid groups are helping neighbors get appointments.
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.
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