The federal government will no longer require states to share personal identifiers like driver's licenses or Social Security numbers when distributing the COVID-19 vaccine, a victory for immigration groups that had raised concerns over the plan.
President Donald Trump's administration had planned to use the identification numbers a way of tracking the distribution of the vaccine, which is expected to win approval in the coming days by federal regulators.
But immigration organizations, as well as Governor Andrew Cuomo, had opposed the plan to use identifiers that could also reveal people to be undocumented immigrants. Cuomo is pushing a vaccine distribution plan that is meant to reach people in immigrant communities, as well as communities of color, in order to reach enough New York residents to gain herd immunity.
Cuomo last week released a letter to the Trump administration signed by immigration and civil rights groups opposing the plan. The governor has also called for a vaccine plan that ensure low-income neighborhoods have access to the vaccine.
“We are thrilled that the CDC and HHS heard our call and removed unnecessary barriers to this life-saving vaccine," said Murad Awawdeh and Rovika Rajkishun, the interim co-executive directors of the New York Immigration Coalition.
"In New York, immigrants who have served on the frontlines of this pandemic will no longer have to choose between their privacy and their family’s health and safety. We thank Governor Cuomo and our partners for joining our fight for investments in the health of immigrants and communities of color. Our advocacy ensured that the only agenda driving the vaccine program is our collective health.”