Florida’s ID requirements at vaccination sites may be keeping vulnerable group away

Jacksonville, FL. — Some people are being turned away at vaccination sites across Florida despite being eligible and despite there being plenty of doses to go round.

Signs are clearly posted outside of the Gateway Mall vaccination site in Jacksonville informing people that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will not conduct enforcement operations at the vaccination sites.

But while ICE won’t stop undocumented people from going to the vaccination site, the ID requirement might. At the Gateway Mall you must show proof of age and Florida residency to get a vaccine.

Laura Kallus, the CEO of Caridad Center the largest free clinic in Florida, said many of her patients have lived in Florida for years but have a hard time proving it for various reasons.

“They don’t have a check stub because a lot of them are working in cash labor jobs. So, they’re working for cash or they’re cleaning houses or they’re babysitting,” said Kallus.

After asking for months, this week her clinic finally received 200 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Many of those doses will go to Florida’s migrant farm workers.

Action News Jax Medical Expert Dr. Michelle Aquino with Baptist said it’s important to vaccinate the undocumented.

“You’ve got this group of people, that if they cannot get the vaccine, they’re just waiting to get infected. And so they can pass it on and continue this pandemic,” said Aquino.

In February the Department of Homeland Security said It is a moral and public health imperative to ensure that all individuals residing in the united states have access to the vaccine.

A sentiment shared by President Joe Biden.

“These are the people that never stop working you know in our economy, these are essential workers that are behind the scenes making everything run while we have the privilege to stay home,” said Kallus.

Kallus said while some vaccination sites are little more flexible, it’s still not uniform across the state.

“The more people that are vaccinated, no matter where they come from, benefits all of us,” she said.