Undocumented Immigrants' Fears Could Stop Them From Getting Vaccine

As the vaccine distribution ramps up across the U.S. there is still a lot of hesitancy about it, especially in our undocumented immigrant communities

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As the administration continues to roll out plans on how the vaccine will be distributed to the general public, advocates are urging the government to consider prioritizing our undeserved communities.

“They don't have the luxuries of staying home,” said Roberto Alcantar, chief strategy officer with the Chicano Federation. “They have to work every single day."

Alcantar says the organization has been in constant communication with the public health department trying to advocate for more resources.

Many undocumented immigrants live in communities that have been hit the hardest by the virus and many have a higher risk of exposure because they are essential workers. 

NBC 7 spoke to an essential worker who chose to remain anonymous due to this immigration status. He said he is not planning on getting the vaccine. He lives in Linda Vista. According to public health data, his neighborhood is near the top 25% of the highest COVID-19 cases by zip code. 

Still, the Linda Vista resident says he is against the vaccine because he doesn't trust his personal information will remain anonymous. 

He points out that his distrust comes from news reports last year that ICE had access to AB 60 license information which allows undocumented immigrants to drive legally in California.

And he says mostly everyone is his community feels the same way. 

Alcantar understands his concerns and is working hard to reassure undocumented immigrants their legal status will not be shared.

“We launched a new campaign aimed at Spanish speakers,” Alcantar said. “It's called ‘Con Orgullo.’ It's to remind our community that we have to get tested ‘with pride.’ We have to socially distance ‘with pride’ for our community.”

Undocumented immigrants have not been specified in the vaccine roll-out plan. San Diego County says they are awaiting guidance from the state beyond categories already approved. 

When that time comes Alcantar hopes these communities opt for the vaccine.

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