CIANA Explains: COVID Vaccines and the Immigrant Community

Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

As access to the COVID-19 vaccine in New York City has increased significantly over the past few months, we at CIANA want to continue encouraging all of our clients to get vaccinated, as well as address some common safety and health concerns many members in our community have about the vaccine.

Vaccines and Your Health

Since the development and rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines appeared to occur more quickly than normal, many people have held concerns about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.

However, the COVID-19 vaccine is both safe and effective. Although COVID-19 is a new virus, researchers have been working on vaccines to the general coronavirus family of viruses for many years. All COVID-19 vaccines have been thoroughly tested in clinical trials to make sure they met safety standards and protected people of different ages and races, and the CDC and the FDA also continuously monitor the vaccines to make sure they remain safe.

Furthermore, none of the COVID-19 vaccines currently used in the United States contain the live virus, meaning none can actually make you sick with COVID-19. Side effects may include flu-like symptoms for a day or two afterward. However, these side effects are not known to cause complications or hospitalizations and are not contagious. The vaccine cannot cause any other health conditions, such as infertility or HIV.

The Delta Variant

You also may have heard about the emergence of a new variant of COVID called the Delta Variant. According to scientists, the Delta variant is more contagious and may cause more severe illness.

As researchers around the world continue to learn about the impact of the Delta variant, it now becomes even more important to get vaccinated, as unvaccinated people have the highest risk of catching this new variant. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself against the Delta virus and the possibility of contracting a more severe case of COVID.

Immigrants and Vaccine Safety

For members of our immigrant and undocumented communities, we want to emphasize that you will be physically safe at vaccination sites, your personal information will always remain confidential, and that getting vaccinated will not impact citizenship or immigration status.

Many government agencies have publicly announced their desire to provide physical and information protection. Specifically, DHS has announced ICE will not come to vaccination sites. The CDC has agreed that data provided by individuals at/for vaccination sites may not be used for any kind of civil or criminal prosecution or immigration enforcement. And in NYC, it is illegal for healthcare providers to share your information with anyone else without your express permission or a court order to do so.

You also do not need to provide a Social Security Number or proof of immigration status to receive the vaccine, nor do you need health insurance. The vaccine is completely FREE of cost for everyone over 12 years old, including undocumented individuals. (Keep in mind if you do have health insurance, your insurance may be charged, but you, personally, will never be.)

Finally, getting the vaccine will in no way impact your ability to become a US citizen. The Trump Administration’s Public Charge Rule is no longer in effect, so an immigrant’s reliance on health resources and other public resources, like a vaccination, will not negatively affect their potential to get a green card or citizenship.

How to Get the Vaccine in NYC

There are now multiple ways to get your vaccine in NYC.

The most popular methods of getting vaccinated are going to a walk-up vaccination site, or making an appointment. For either option, visit the NYC Vaccine Finder website or call 877-VAX-4NYC (877-829-4692) to find a location to get vaccinated. All New Yorkers ages 12 and up can get the vaccine, and appointments are not required at most locations.

As of June 23, in-home vaccinations are also now available for all New Yorkers living in any of the 5 boroughs. You can register directly through the city to schedule an in-home vaccination.

Required Documentation

The only documentation you must bring to your vaccination appointment is proof of age.

Proof you are 12 years old or older may include:

  • Driver's license or non-driver ID

  • IDNYC (good option for undocumented immigrants)

  • State or government-issued birth certificate

  • Current U.S. passport or valid foreign passport

  • Permanent resident card

  • Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship

  • Life insurance policy with birthdate

  • Marriage certificate with date or birth

  • For people younger than 18, a parent or guardian can accompany them to the vaccination site to confirm their age.

Again, you will not need to provide proof of immigration status or a social security number, and your privacy and confidentiality will be protected at all times.

Get Vaccinated!

Getting the vaccine is safe, free, and the best way to keep yourself and your community protected from COVID-19. Get vaccinated today, and help us end the pandemic!

On Wednesday, July 21 at 6:30 PM, CIANA, in conjunction with NYC Health + Hospitals and a number of community partners, will be hosting a Vaccine Workshop in English, Spanish, and Arabic in order to inform our communities about the safety, effectiveness, and confidentiality of the vaccine. Register for our workshop today. We hope to see you there!