COVID-19 Justice

No documentation? No problem. Immigrants can get vaccinated for free

Activists are trying to get the word out to immigrant communities fearful of vaccination programs.

You don’t need identification to get vaccinated in Michigan. Nobody will ask for your citizenship status. And more than that, you don’t even have to pay to get a shot.

Those are three of the things keeping undocumented immigrants in Michigan from getting inoculated against COVID-19. And they’re messages health advocates are trying to get out to the community in an effort to get more people vaccinated.

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“We know our immigrant community has been on the frontlines, and has risked their lives and the lives of their families, to be working,” said Evangelina Alvarez in an interview with Southwest Michigan’s Second Wave. She’s the Public Policy Coordinator for the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, and has been working with community groups in Kalamazoo County to get the word out about vaccines.

Immigrants, especially Hispanic migrant workers, face a multitude of issues when it comes to the pandemic in Michigan. Some are undocumented. Many work in jobs that require them to be in close quarters with others. Even more face the threat of firing if they complain about unsafe working conditions.

Groups like El Concilio in Kalamazoo help by providing information, financial support, and legal assistance to the immigrant communities in southwest Michigan. It’s also helping to coordinate vaccine appointments for immigrants.

“We have been getting many calls regarding the vaccine,” said Nathaly Olavarria, community engagement manager for El Concilio. “If we don’t have a set date for an upcoming event, what we do is add them to our waiting list, and as soon as we have a certain date planned, we then begin to call and schedule the appointments.”

You can read the full story here.

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