Guatemalan Maya Center
Dems to DeSantis: Ease COVID-19 vaccine requirements for undocumented immigrants
"Less than 40% of seniors ages 65 and older living in Palm Beach County ZIP codes where most residents don’t speak English at home had been vaccinated through Feb. 26, a Post analysis had previously found, compared to 58% countywide.
About 14% of people who have received at least one shot are Hispanic, who make up about 26% of Florida’s population. Most immigrants in the state are Hispanic.
Immigrants and immigrant advocates cited lack of ID and paperwork as reasons why vaccinations have been rarer among them.
“A lot of our families live multiple families to one household, so they don't have their names on a utility bill, a lease, any of that,” said Lindsay McElroy, executive administrative assistant at the Guatemalan-Maya Center, a not-for-profit in Lake Worth Beach serving immigrants.
“There’s no way to prove they live here even if they’ve lived here for years,” she said. “These residency requirements … created unnecessary hurdles to getting the vaccine when it’s a public health crisis.”
Still, the effort to rescind those residency requirements came as welcome news to McElroy.
Even with the state restrictions in place, vaccine providers have been immunizing some immigrants lacking the IDs and paperwork required.
The state-run Palm Beach County health department has vaccinated people who don’t have the necessary paperwork, but instead have letters from the Guatemalan-Maya Center vouching for their Palm Beach County residency.
“Churches, Community Organizations, Clinics, and other providers often write letters for the homeless, and others that may have lost or have insufficient documentation,” county health department director Dr. Alina Alonso said in a text message.
“(Dr.) Alonso has always been an ally of our community,” McElroy said." Read full story in the Palm Beach Post here.