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HomeCoronavirusGovernor Cuomo: CDC, HHS Says COVID-19 Vaccine Process Will NOT Single Out Immigrants

Governor Cuomo: CDC, HHS Says COVID-19 Vaccine Process Will NOT Single Out Immigrants

Governor Cuomo: CDC, HHS Says Vaccine Process Will NOT Single Out Immigrants

December 9, 2020 – Albany, NY – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo provides a coronavirus update from the Red Room at the State Capitol. (Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo shared good news today about the COVID-19 Vaccine distribution process. Contrary to its original request, the Federal Government would not be requiring individual identification for every person receiving a vaccination.

“The CDC specifically has agreed that the State will not send individual data identifying a person in a way that could be used to document citizenship or deportation, et cetera,” said the Governor today.

For reference, HHS below refers to the US Department of Health and Human Services.

On November 3, the Governor first brought up his concerns over the Government’s demand that personally identifying information be provided for every individual receiving the vaccine.

The letter which the Governor sent in this regard began as so:

President Trump, Dr. Redfield and Secretary Azar:

Late last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked all states to sign a Data Use Agreement that requires state health departments to share with the federal government personal information for every person who receives a COVID-19 vaccine, including name, address, date of birth, ethnicity, race and sex, as well as an identification number that is unique to each vaccination recipient.  “Identification number” generally refers to a social security number, driver license number, or passport number.

Mr. Cuomo has brought the subject up numerous times since then. On December 1, he more clearly laid out his concerns by delineating the supposed connection between the Federal Government’s request and the effect it might have on immigrants.

Since his entry into the White House, the President’s continued stance on immigration in America has been no secret.

Governor Cuomo on December 1:

“We have been speaking to HHS about this. There’s no reason why you need a Social Security number. We can identify people without using indices of citizenship. There’s no reason why we have to send citizenship data to HHS about a vaccine and I’m releasing a letter signed by 54 of New York group that work with undocumented people: immigration groups, legal groups, all protesting this. I’m sending it to the New York delegation. I’m sending it to the Congressional Black Caucus, Hispanic Caucus, President-elect Joe Biden. I am confident knowing President-elect Joe Biden and his team, that they would not stand for this, but they’re not there till January 20, and this vaccination program is all being put in place by the Trump administration. So, it sounds like President-elect Biden takes over very soon, but sometimes very soon isn’t soon enough because the Trump administration is making states sign these documents now because they’re going to start distribution of the vaccine before President Biden takes office. So, we are releasing that letter today. As I said, I think it is illegal and I think it is discriminatory. And I think it’s a pattern of discriminatory acts taken by this administration and HHS.”

Today, the Governor had the following to say:

“We do have good news that we waged a similar effort on the rules for vaccinations for undocumented people. The way the federal government constructed the program, basically they wanted the states to collect social security numbers, passport numbers or driver’s license numbers for anybody vaccinated. These are all bells for people who are undocumented, alarm bells. And it sounded like you were trying to use the vaccination to identify undocumented people. We have gone through this with the federal government at length with the trusted traveler program previously. If undocumented people don’t get vaccinated, it compromises their health and it compromises the whole program.

So, we raised this point again. We did letters. I did speeches. I’ve spoken out publicly and HHS has agreed. The CDC specifically has agreed that the State will not send individual data identifying a person in a way that could be used to document citizenship or deportation, et cetera.

We insisted on that in what’s called the data-sharing agreement, data use agreement, and the CDC agreed. So, that is a better vaccination program for this country and for this state. It took a lot of work, but I want to congratulate all the advocates and people who stepped up and spoke up, because it was a good service.”

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