December 01 2020

Governor Cuomo letter to Secretary Azar about vaccine distribution

https://wnyt.com/news/governor-cuomo-letter-to-secretary-azar-about-vaccine-distribution/5938990/

December 01, 2020 2:39 PM By WNYT-TV

December 1, 2020

Dear Secretary Azar:

We write to bring attention to a very important issue concerning the upcoming vaccination process. 

Obviously, a successful program administering the vaccine is critical to the national health.  But for the vaccination program to be successful, it must have the full participation of all the American people.  To that end, we join with Governor Cuomo in raising concerns about the fairness and effectiveness of the current federal vaccination program. 

First, we are deeply troubled by the failure of the federal vaccination program to provide the states with adequate funding to undertake effective vaccination plans for the Black, Brown, Asian and lower-income communities that are too often underserved by private healthcare facilities.  The COVID infection and death rates are significantly higher in these communities, and failure to provide these communities with an adequate vaccination program, whether by intent or effect, will further discriminate against these communities.  We join with national civil rights groups such as the National Urban League and the NAACP in calling for a federally funded fair and equal vaccination program.

Second, the federal government requires that a Data Sharing Agreement be executed by state governments before commencing the vaccination program.  The current Data Sharing Agreement provided by the federal government requires identification of each person who is vaccinated - the federal government suggests that states use Social Security numbers, driver's license identification numbers, or passport numbers to fulfill this requirement. 

This provision obviously raises concerns, as the proposed criteria are all proxies for proof of citizenship.  The concern is exacerbated by an additional federal provision in the Data Sharing Agreement specifically providing that the information could be shared with other federal agencies, i.e. The Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  If undocumented Americans are dissuaded from participating in the vaccination program, it would jeopardize both their health and the efficacy of the entire vaccination program. 

New York State has proposed two clarifications or modifications to address the issue.  First, New York will provide an identification system to effectively track vaccinated individuals and the required dosages that does not identify to the Federal government an individual's Social Security number, passport number, or driver's license number.  The state will provide aggregate data.  In addition, the Federal government must agree to keep vaccination identification information private as with any other health matter, and agree not to share it with any non-health agency for any other purpose.

It is in everyone's interest for all of us to work together to encourage our respective constituents to participate in the vaccination program.  Outreach efforts to Black, Brown, Asian and low-income communities is essential.  Further, it is certainly not in the national interest for individuals to have valid concerns preventing such participation, and the undocumented community has specific and valid cause for concern in providing unnecessary, irrelevant, and sensitive information to federal agencies. 

We look forward to working together to organize a fast and effective vaccine program to ensure the national health.  Thank you for your consideration, cooperation, and courtesy.

Sincerely,

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

 

 

Guillermo Chacon

President

Hispanic Health Network & Latino Commission on AIDS, Inc.

 

Andy Chen

Executive Director

Asian American Community Empowerment

 

Rawaa Nancy Albilal

President & CEO

Arab-American Family Support Center

 

Diana Saguilán

Interim Co-Executive Director

Worker Justice Center of New York

 

Maria Lizardo LMSW

Executive Director

NMIC

 

Beth A. Broadway

President/CEO

InterFaith Works of Central New York

 

Davon Russell

President

WHEDco

 

Martha Maffei

Executive Director

SEPA Mujer Inc.

 

Jirandy Martinez

Executive Director

Community Resource Center

 

Linda Lee

President & CEO

Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York

 

Alan Wernick

Director

CUNY Citizenship Now!

 

Alba Lucero Villa

Executive Director

Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights

 

Rebecca Sanin

President and CEO

Health and Welfare Council of Long Island

 

Eddia Cuesta

Executive Director

Dominicanos USA (DUSA)

 

Frankie Miranda

President

Hispanic Federation

 

Monsignor Kevin Sullivan

Executive Director

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York

 

Sister Helen Kearney

President

Sisters of St. Joseph

 

Shelly Callahan

Executive Director

The Center

 

Andrea Callan, Esq.

Interim Co-Executive Director

Worker Justice Center of New York

 

Fanny Villarreal

CEO

YWCA of Syracuse and Onondaga County

 

Minerva Perez

Executive Director

OLA of Eastern Long Island

 

Jeff Reynolds

President & CEO

Family and Children's Association

 

Carola Otero Bracco

Executive Director

Neighbors Link

 

Talib Z. Abdullah

Executive Director

ACCESS of WNY

 

Manuel Castro

Executive Director

New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE)

 

Ben Thomases

Executive Director

Queens Community House

 

Mohammad Razvi

Chief Executive Officer

Council of Peoples Organization

 

John Park

Executive Director

MinKwon Center for Community Action

 

Gladys Serrano

CEO
Hispanic Counseling Center

 

Ligia Guallpa

Worker's Justice Project

(WJC)

 

Mimi Pierre Johnson

President and CEO

The Elmont Cultural Center

 

Albert Fox Cahn

Executive Director

S.T.O.P. - The Surveillance Technology Oversight Project

 

Nyasa Hickey

Director of Immigration Initiatives

Brooklyn Defender Services

 

Rokeya Akhter

Executive Director

New American Voters Association

 

Donna Lieberman

Executive Director

New York Civil Liberties Union

 

Carmen Maquilon

Director

Catholic Charities of Long Island

Immigrant Services

 

Karen M. Andolina Scott

Executive Director

Journey's End Refugee Services, Inc.

 

Helen Alesi

Executive Director

Latino Civic Association

 

Kyle Bragg

President

32BJ SEIU

 

Pabitra Benjamin

Executive Director

Adhikaar

 

Jo-Ann Yoo

Executive Director

Asian American Federation

 

Jacob Dixon

CEO

Choice for All

 

Eileen Torres

Executive Director

Bronxworks

 

Jay Subedi

New Americans Forum

 

Justine Olderman

Executive Director

Bronx Defenders

 

Yeseina Mata

Executive Director

La Colmena

 

Margarita Guzman

Executive Director

Violence Intervention Program

 

Murad Awawdeh

Interim Co-Executive Director

New York Immigration Coalition

 

Lucy A. Candelario

Executive Director

Erie Regional Housing Development Corporation d/b/a The Belle Center

 

Mino Lora

Co-Founder & Executive Director

People's Theatre Project

 

Deborah Axt

Co-Executive Director

Make the Road New York

 

Eva Hassett

Executive Director

International Institute of Buffalo

 

cc:   President-Elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

        New York State Congressional Delegation

        Members of the Congressional Black Caucus

        Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus

        Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus

 

Enc.      Additional Supporters