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Advocate: Residency Requirement For COVID Vaccines Makes Shots Inaccessible For Vulnerable Communities

Several COVID-19 vaccines are being studied in trials around the country. Once the Food and Drug Administration authorizes a vaccine for use, health leaders must decide which groups of people get to receive the vaccine first.
People who want to get a coronavirus vaccine in Florida must provide a state-issued ID or a document showing their name and a local address.

Community advocates in South Florida are calling for the state to eliminate residency requirements to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

People who want to get a coronavirus vaccine in Florida need to show proof they live in the state.

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They must provide a state-issued ID or a document showing their name and a Florida address.

Aidil Oscariz, a community engagement and policy consultant with the advocacy group Catalyst Miami, said the residency requirement excludes marginalized people from getting vaccinated.

"A lot of people want to get vaccinated and have been unable to due to this requirement and not being able to produce those documents," Oscariz said.

Oscariz said many migrant workers and out-of-status or undocumented immigrants don’t have bank accounts, and people throughout the state live in homes where their names are not on a lease or on a utility bill.

"These are a lot of the same people that have been doing frontline work, that are essential workers, that have been exposing themselves to the coronavirus since the beginning," Oscariz said.

Oscariz is calling for the proof of residency requirement to be eliminated.

"This is a larger public health issue," Oscariz said. "We want as many people as possible to get vaccinated so that we can all be safe, and our economy can recover."