ATLANTA — Georgia is home to hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants, many of whom work and live in communities disproportionately affected by the coronavirus.
In fact, Latino advocacy groups say 170,000 undocumented immigrants in the state are essential workers. Many of them have high priority after healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents for the vaccine, but health experts say there's vaccine hesitancy keeping their vaccine numbers low.
Our Verify team has received many questions from the community about who is eligible to get the vaccine. Viewers have asked us specifically if undocumented immigrants qualify. We took that question to those in charge of Georgia's vaccine rollout.
Are undocumented immigrants able to get the COVID-19 vaccine once they become eligible in Georgia?
Yes, according to the state health department, anyone can get the COVID-19 vaccine free of charge and without identification.
WHAT WE FOUND
The Georgia Department of Public Health said undocumented immigrants are able to get the vaccine and free of charge, like everybody else.
A spokesperson with the department added that no identification is required for anybody to receive the vaccine. In a statement, DPH said:
"Vaccinating as many people as possible, regardless of immigration status, is critical to stopping the spread of COVID-19 in Georgia."
We also reached out to the Latino Community Fund (LCF), a non-profit aimed at helping advocate for Latinos. Congressman Hank Johnson who represents Rockdale County and parts of DeKalb, Gwinnett and Newton counties, also weighed in.
"We need to make sure that we get that vaccine to every nook and cranny so that everyone can be vaccinated," Johnson explained.
Latinos are among the groups with the highest vaccine hesitancy, but also among the ones with fewer vaccines administered.
"They are overrepresented in frontline occupations and they are also dying faster of COVID," Gigi Pedraza, executive director of LCF, said.
The Department of Homeland Security also released a statement earlier this month to talk about the importance of equitable distribution for the vaccine.
In the statement, it said:
"DHS carries out its mission, including all areas within its COVID-19 response, without discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, nationality, or other protected class, and in compliance with law and policy."