Health, Vaccines & Equity
Editors: Bella Rolland and Eunice Kim
The total number of deaths involving COVID-19 in the United States reached close to 550,000 by March 11, 2021—a year after the WHO announcement of a new global pandemic—with even higher numbers reported when excess deaths and the lasting health damages are accounted for. The number continued to soar throughout the summer of 2021, reaching over 600,000 on July 30, 2021. As COVID-19 evolved from an epidemic into a pandemic, it became clear that the public health crisis was disproportionately exposing certain populations—BIPOC, immigrants, and refugees—to infection and death. The progression of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. laid bare the existing health inequities, with their deep historical roots in systematic racism and xenophobia.
During the early phase of the pandemic in 2020, health inequities were often reflected in the location of testing sites, access to treatment in hospitals, and the presence of underlying health conditions closely associated with environmental hazards and injustices. Researchers have worked on the interconnectedness between health inequity, the climate crisis, and collective trauma from the perspective of family therapists considering the impact of social determinants and collective trauma on health, or how draconian immigration policies such as the public charge rule resulted in reduced enrollment in child safety-net programs. Even with the development and rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, which were authorized for emergency use in December 2020, the issue of accessibility to healthcare continued. Barriers to healthcare and volatile community relationships with the federal government and the American medical system undermined the vaccine distribution process, with was exacerbated by lack of funding, misinformation, and xenophobic comments in American politics and media.
For migrants, recent immigrants, refugees, and racial minority populations, their class status affects where they take up residence, the quality of healthcare in the neighborhood, and the level of occupational health risks associated with their jobs. Frequent policy changes worsened the already poor working and living conditions. The lack of guaranteed access to COVID-19 testings and vaccines affected disproportionate numbers of Hispanic and Latino American workers, seasonal or temporary work visa holders, undocumented migrants, and asylum seekers. Lack of personal protection equipment in the workplace, long work hours in closed quarters, and public policy measures during the pandemic that waived employer liability issues all contributed to an increase in infection and death rates. Low status jobs were disproportionately held by racial minorities in the U.S. Even in the healthcare field, hospital workers, recent immigrants from Africa and Asia, and healthcare workers with H1B visas were systematically exposed to harsh working conditions. Though this relationship is clear, the complicated intersection between low socioeconomic status and im/migrants is something that needs to be further analyzed (See Labor & the Economy).
The COVID-19 pandemic has also shown that there are massive issues both with how health inequity data is being collected, and with the existing frameworks of race and ethnicity that are being used in the media. Some media coverage on vaccine skepticism has identified its root causes to be accessibility issues, the spread of health misinformation, and historical or collective trauma. There has also been a lot of community level work focusing on reaching out to vulnerable communities by healthcare workers and activists who share a common identity. However, the lack of comprehensive data often resulted in local politicians and media blaming Black and Hispanic American communities and RIM communities for voluntarily refusing vaccines or behaving without public consciousness about health.
This collection on health, vaccines, and equity includes news articles, radio recordings, podcasts, and academic journal articles that highlight existing structural inequalities for immigrants, mixed immigration status families, and the communities they live in. Xenophobic policies (see Racism & Xenophobia) have increased the health risks for immigrants everywhere, but this heightened precarity was especially true in places such as crowded border entry points, immigration detention centers, prisons, and workplaces that have large foreign-born populations. Together, these sources help answer the questions such as:
What are the conditions that immigrants and refugees are uniquely and/or disproportionately exposed to that make them more vulnerable to infection and death? How are historic health disparities exacerbated during the pandemic? Where are the geographic locations and sites that disproportionately house incarcerated individuals, with cluster outbreaks? Where does the pushback for vaccinations come from, and how does American media describe the cause of such hesitancy? Where are the hospitals with ICUs that im/migrant and refugee patients can go to, and what efforts are needed to increase vaccine accessibility for BIPOC and RIM communities?
University of Minnesota has a National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants (NRC-RIM) that puts together information on COVID-19 pandemic that caters specifically to refugees, immigrants, and migrants. Academic journals also dedicated a separate page to cover news related to COVID-19, including NEJM, The Lancet, and OUP. Social Science Research Council set up #Coronavirussyllabus. In the U.S. the CDC remains the major source of information on COVID-19 and policymaking, although the historically rooted distrust of the government means that there needs to be effort from community health partners to tackle misconceptions about vaccines.
IHRC Research Spotlight: "Identifying Obstacles to COVID-19 Vaccine Accessibility for Immigrant and POC Populations" by Isabella Rolland (September 2021). Download here.
Martin, Jeffery. “Trump Blames Dem Immigration Policy for Coronavirus: ‘Border Security Is Also Health Security.’” Newsweek, February 28, 2020. Speaking at a rally in South Carolina, Trump called the Democrats’ immigrant policy “a direct threat” to border security. He conflated the public health issue with border security by saying “we must understand that border security is also healthy security.” (Video of Trump’s announcement at CPAC 2020)
National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants. “Vaccine Campaign Partnerships with Faith-Based Organizations,” May 2019. Based on the lessons learned from the Minnesota Immunization Networking Initiative (MINI) from 2006 to 2017, NRCRIM emphasizes that “partnering directly with communities is essential to identify factors influencing a community’s vaccine response, facilitate trust, and guide vaccine communications and provision. Faith-based organizations frequently play an integral role within communities, but, unfortunately, federal, state, and local public health are often hesitant to seek partnerships.”
Villarreal, Alexandra. “Trump’s Immigration Policies May Put People at Risk of Coronavirus – Experts.” The Guardian, March 8, 2020. Sanctuary cities such as Seattle, Los Angeles and New York are being subject to immigration raids, with the goal of “arrest[ing] as many undocumented immigrants as possible,” the Guardian reports. Along with the panic and worries caused by the recent ‘public charge’ rule, ICE raids will stop immigrants from seeking healthcare.
Barros, Aline. “Coronavirus Treatment Urged for Immigrants Regardless of Legal Status | Voice of America - English.” Voice of America, March 9, 2020. Reported when around 600 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the US, VOA reports that immigrant groups are calling for the need to seek medical care as the US is on the beginning of a public health crisis. It notes that immigrants are less willing to seek medical care under an immigration-restive administration and uses the example of the ‘public charge’ rule.
Trevizo, Perla. “COVID-19 Cases at One Texas Immigration Detention Center Soared in a Matter of Days. Now, Town Leaders Want Answers.” The Texas Tribune-ProPublica, May 11, 2020. Local governments in Texas are asking companies that run immigration detention centers, such as the Geo Group, to provide more information on what they are doing to stop COVID-19 infections.
Hauslohner, Abigail, Nick Miroff, and Matt Zapotosky. “Coronavirus Could Pose Serious Concern in ICE Jails, Immigration Courts.” Washington Post, March 12, 2020. Advocacy groups, such as ACLU, HRW, and National Association of Immigration Judges, call out CBP and ICE’s inappropriate management of detention facilities and quarantine methods. They are also concerned over immigration court hearings amidst increasing COVID-19 cases. ACLU said, “Without the active engagement of the detention center’s administration, [detainees] have little ability to inform themselves about preventive measures, or to take such measures if they do manage to learn of them.”
Galvan, Astrid, and Nomaan Merchant. “US: Immigrants Can Seek Coronavirus Care without Fear.” Star Tribune, March 13, 2020.T he paper reports on the USCIS announcement that it “will neither consider testing, treatment, nor preventative care” to determine green card eligibility. It also discusses the ‘public charge’ rule and its implication during a pandemic-era.
Hall, Richard. “Coronavirus: ICE Crackdown Stokes Fears for Safety of Undocumented Immigrants during Pandemic.” The Independent, March 13, 2020. The Independent reports that “Democrats in both houses have called on ICE to halt operations at health facilities during the coronavirus outbreak over fears undocumented immigrants could be deterred from seeking medical help. ...The pandemic has coincided with a widespread crackdown by ICE agents in sanctuary cities [such as New York and Boston] across the country.” There are also fears over what happens when noncitizens test positive in detention facilities.
Carcamo, Cindy, Andrea Castillo, Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Dolan Maura, Brittny Mejia, and Molly O’Toole. “Coronavirus is turning an overloaded immigration system into a ‘tinderbox.’” Los Angeles Times, March 18, 2020. Immigration judges raise concern over crowded courtrooms and workers are trying to limit potential exposure to COVID-19 despite the lack of personal protection equipment. Considering that the crisis will continue, “immigration judges, attorneys and immigrant-rights advocates, as well as some federal immigration workers, are calling on the federal government to take aggressive steps to slow the spread of the virus and its effect on an already overloaded and backlogged immigration system,” the Times reports.
Jordan, Miriam. “‘We’re Petrified’: Immigrants Afraid to Seek Medical Care for Coronavirus.” The New York Times, March 18, 2020. Immigrant advocacy groups note how COVID-19 has undermined the already precarious positions of immigrant workers, who are concerned about constantly shifting conditions for becoming legal permanent residents, detainees, deportees. They are also worried about becoming sick without access to healthcare, homeless, and such.
Gerstein, Josh. “Anger Builds over Virus Dangers in Immigration Courts.” Politico. March 18, 2020. Unlike other services, immigration courts were not restricted due to COVID-19 shutdowns and yet had minimum safety precautions. Many activists have condemned the lack of restrictions on immigrations courts because of the conditions that undocumented immigrants, refugees, attorneys, and judges have faced by being in court.
Benshoff, Laura. “‘Extraordinary Times’: Advocates Call for Closure of Immigrant Detention Centers for Coronavirus.” WHYY, March 19, 2020. WHYY notes ICE’s statements on protection measures for its own staff, as “measures are not enough to quell concerns about adequate medical care and the close quarters inside.” As for the immigration court proceedings, many stopped this week. However, “those inside ICE detention centers are still happening."
Hernández, César Cuauhtémoc García, and Carlos Moctezuma García. “Close Immigration Prisons Now.” The New York Times, March 19, 2020. Hernández et al. call for the need to close immigration prisons in the face of pandemic: “The coronavirus’s quick transmission and deadly track record is likely to worsen inside immigration prisons. Basic preventive measures are next to impossible. There’s no social distancing because detainees live in cramped spaces. ICE doesn’t even require that the person who oversees medical care be a physician.” (Opinion)
Lanard, Noah. “ICE Is Ignoring Recommendations to Release Immigrant Detainees to Slow the Spread of Coronavirus.” Mother Jones, March 20, 2020. Mother Jones reports that “data released by ICE on Wednesday night shows that the agency is keeping detention numbers high. As of Saturday, ICE had 37,311 people in custody, down only slightly from 37,888 the week before. More than 60 percent of those detainees—22,936 people—do not have criminal convictions. Among the 38 percent of detainees who do have criminal convictions, many have only committed minor offenses like crossing the border without authorization.”
Hadavas, Chloe. “ICE Temporarily Halts Most Immigration Enforcement Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic.” Slate Magazine, March 20, 2020. ICE will stop “most arrests and deportations” and “won’t carry out operations near health care facilities, including hospitals, doctors’ offices, and urgent care facilities,” Slate reports.
Rose, Joel. “Growing Calls To Close Immigration Courts And Release Detainees As Virus Spreads.” NPR, March 21, 2020. NPR reports on an ICE detention center worker tested positive for the coronavirus, which led to “more than 3,000 physicians signed a letter urging ICE to release detainees while their legal cases proceed—particularly adults over 60 and people with serious chronic medical conditions that would put them at higher risk in the event of an outbreak.”
Schacher, Yael. “Coronavirus can't be an excuse to continue President Trump's assault on asylum seekers.” Washington Post, March 21, 2020. Schacher, an immigration historian, discusses the history of refugee laws and urges the Trump administration to “not close the border to asylum seekers in violation of the 1980 Refugee Act” and to “stop forcibly transferring asylum seekers to Mexico and Guatemala after prolonged detention in unsafe and overcrowded U.S. border facilities, which is both a violation of the right to seek asylum and a public health risk — especially with a highly contagious pandemic sweeping the country.” (Opinion)
“For Immigrant Communities, Coronavirus Is A Different Kind Of Threat: Latino USA.” Latino USA. NPR, March 25, 2020. This podcast episode focuses on how staying at home during COVID-19 pandemic is unaffordable for low-income immigrant community members, who are more likely to continue their “essential retail, labor, and service industry jobs” and less likely to have access to healthcare.
Hackman, Michelle. “Rule Barring Immigrants From Social Programs Risks Worsening Coronavirus Spread.” Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2020. The Journal reports that the "Trump administration’s immigration policies lead many to not seek medical care, possibly leaving virus undetected.”
Villarreal, Alexandra, and Oliver Laughland. “Detainees in US Immigration Jails Living in Fear as Coronavirus Spreads.” The Guardian, March 29, 2020. There are concerns over COVID-19 related health issues in immigration detention facilities, such as how personal protection equipment and other healthcare resources will be given to American staff first and not detainees. Protests over inappropriate responses to COVID-19 within detention centers are met with “heavy-handed crackdowns”, which includes the use of rubber bullets and chemical agents, the Guardian reports.
Singh, Maanvi. “‘I Have a Broken Heart’: Trump Policy Has Immigrants Backing Away from Healthcare amid Crisis.” The Guardian, March 29, 2020. Despite the USCIS suspending the ‘public charge’ rule due to pressure from immigrant advocacy groups and lawmakers, many immigrants continue to distrust the Trump administration and are unwilling to access public medical services due to fears of being denied a green card or a visa. In California, such restrictive immigration policies impact state-wide preventative healthcare, since there is a high population of first and second generation immigrants.
“COVID-19 and the Displaced: Addressing the Threat of the Novel Coronavirus in Humanitarian Emergencies.” Refugees International, March 30, 2020. The report analyzes per continent the effect of pandemic on the “world’s more than 70 million forcibly displaced people—including refugees, asylum seekers, IDPs, and other forced migrants…[whose] displacement leaves them disadvantaged in many ways”. Refugee International finds 5 factors that increase the vulnerability: population density, lack of access to basic services and reliable information, disruption in the humanitarian supply chain due to outbreak, and redirection of financing and funding.
The Editorial Board. “Coronavirus Doesn’t Care Where You Come From. Trump Still Does.” The New York Times, March 31, 2020. The Times Editorial Board writes a lengthy overview of how the xenophobia and obsession with immigrants are showing through various orders, statues, and laws the Trump administration has passed as part of the COVID-19 battle. There are structural causes of how immigrants are more vulnerable to the pandemic: “They often live in crowded conditions, have little money and no paid sick leave, and so lack the ability to self-quarantine. And according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 23 percent of noncitizens lawfully in the country and 45 percent of those who are undocumented lack health insurance.” (Opinion)
Samayoa, Monica. “Some Immigrant Groups Struggle To Get Facts About COVID-19.” Here & Now. Oregon Public Broadcasting, April 2, 2020. Due to language barriers, immigrant communities rely on social media to learn on time about COVID-19.
“Protect Immigrant Communities: Fear Mounts of Deadly COVID-19 Outbreak in U.S. Border Camps, ICE Jails.” Democracy Now!, April 3, 2020. This video covers the demands by immigration advocates for ICE to release all detainees, especially as the detention centers in the US and border towns in Mexico become overcrowded due to Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy. It includes an interview with founder and executive director of Sueños Sin Fronteras de Tejas.
Vinson, Liz. “Detained Immigrants across Deep South Feel like ‘Sitting Ducks’ as ICE Ignores Their Safety amid Global Pandemic.” Southern Poverty Law Center, April 3, 2020. The SPLC reports that COVID-19 has reached immigration detention facilities and that “people held prisoner in remote immigrant prisons throughout the Deep South have become increasingly panicked as they, along with advocates fighting for their release, report that ICE – the agency keeping them locked up – is doing virtually nothing to keep them safe. Whistleblower medical experts for the Department of Homeland Security have even said that immigrant detention centers are inherently unable to protect people from the spread of the virus.”
Navratil, Liz, and Maya Rao. “Minnesota Seeks to Help Immigrant Residents Cope with COVID-19.” Star Tribune, April 3, 2020. Minnesota’s “government agencies, community outreach groups and religious leaders are scrambling to distribute information to more than 100,000 state residents who speak little or no English” as many are unwilling to seek medical assistance “out of fear that it could jeopardize their pathway to citizenship,” the Star Tribune reports. Unfortunately, outreach efforts are limited outside Minneapolis and St. Paul area.
Cooke, Kristina, Mica Rosenberg, and Ryan McNeill. “As Pandemic Rages, U.S. Immigrants Detained in Areas with Few Hospitals.” Reuters, April 3, 2020. Reuters reports that despite the US immigration officials’ plan to “transfer detainees with serious symptoms to hospitals with ‘expertise in high risk care’ in case of a serious breakout, the reality is that most detention centers—located in remote areas away from medical facilities—cannot handle an outbreak.”
Lanard, Noah, and Joaquin Castro. “Immigrants In ICE Detention Face The Threat Of COVID-19.” Latino USA from NPR, April 7, 2020. This 30-minute podcast focuses on ICE detention centers and COVID-19. Lanard, a reporter for Mother Jones, notes how detainees kept track of COVID-19 related safety measures from the CDC and reported that none of the measures are kept. Social distancing is hard, disinfectants and other cleaning supplies are rare, and access to medical staff is impossible except in emergencies. Castro, a Congressman, mentions the reversal of original ICE response on stopping immigration raids and downsizing ICE detainees; stimulus relief for Hispanic Caucus and Puerto Rico; work conditions disproportionately exposing Latino workers to COVID-19.
Mukpo, Ashoka. “‘They Don’t Care If You Die’: Immigrants in ICE Detention Fear the Spread of COVID-19.” American Civil Liberties Union - News & Commentary, April 8, 2020. The ACLU notes the heightened health risk from COVID-19 and pressure on ICE to release detainees at risk. ICE identified 600 as vulnerable to COVID-19 and released 160 as of March 30, 2020. Some detention facilities requiring visiting attorneys to wear N95 masks meant many asylum seekers could not access lawyers.
McFarling, Usha Lee. “Fearing deportation, many immigrants at higher risk of Covid-19 are afraid to seek testing or care.” Stat, April 15, 2020. As in many places around the country, immigrants in LA are avoiding COVID-19 testing and other forms of medical care because they fear they will be labeled as public charges, which could impact their immigration status and possibly lead to deportation.
Merchant, Nomaan. “Detained migrant with COVID-19 forced to call in to court.” AP News, April 17, 2020. An immigrant who has been detained at a detention center in Louisiana was forced to call into a court hearing even though “he was too weak to talk” after testing positive for COVID-19, reports AP. The call went on for two hours before the judge decided to delay the final asylum hearing.
Cruz, Melissa. “As Coronavirus Fatalities Rise, Trump Sends Immigrant Meatpackers Back to Work.” American Immigration Council, May 1, 2020. Trump’s executive order may help food supply in the country amid the pandemic, but it puts immigrant workers at risk in meatpacking plants, who already suffer from inadequate health care and worker protections.
Police Executive Research Forum. “Police and Immigrants in the Age of the Coronavirus.” Daily COVID-19 Report. Police Executive Research Forum, May 1, 2020. The report focuses on how “immigrants’ reluctance to be involved with police may increase if they fear that public health measures will be used as a pretext for immigration enforcement. So police are reassuring immigrant communities that they are interested only in protecting community health and safety.”
Makhlouf, Medha D., and Jasmine Sandhu. “Immigrants and Interdependence: How the COVID-19 Pandemic Exposes the Folly of the New Public Charge Rule.” SSRN Scholarly Paper. Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network, May 2, 2020. Medha and Sandhu write on the public charge rule and the negative impact on the health care system during a global pandemic. “The major effect of the new rule is to chill noncitizens from enrolling in public benefits, including Medicaid, out of fear of negative immigration consequences,” they argue.
Capps, Randy, and Julia Gelatt. “Barriers to COVID-19 Testing and Treatment: Immigrants without Health Coverage in the United States.” Fact Sheets. Migration Policy Institute, May 5, 2020. The organization’s fact sheet looks at the correlations between access to healthcare, unemployment rate, and immigration status.
Oriel, Christina M. “Equipped with Only a Surgical Mask on the Front Lines, Filipina Nurse Dies at Hollywood Area Hospital.” Asian Journal News, May 2, 2020. The News notes that according to its tally, “nurse’s death is now among two dozen Filipino health care workers around the United States who have lost their lives in the fight against COVID-19.” It notes the difficulty of having adequate personal protection equipment in the frontline.
Gallardo, Adriana, and Ariel Goodman. “Los New Yorkers: Essential and Underprotected in the Pandemic’s Epicenter.” ProPublica, May 2, 2020. ProPublica interviews around twenty four Latino immigrants in New York about their experiences of family separation, work, survival, and deaths under COVID-19 pandemic. Scared to seek medical care, undocumented workers are forced to weigh impossible choices: working to survive or staying home to protect their health.
Wilson, Jason. “Food Banks Struggle to Keep Pace with Immigrant Communities Hit Hard by Pandemic.” The Guardian, May 4, 2020. The Guardian reports that “distribution centers in Texas are seeing 100% increase in need and report they are ‘going to run out of food in a couple of weeks’” and quotes food security researcher’s opinion that “Texas’s deteriorating food security has been exacerbated by the hard line immigration policies of the Trump administration.”
Arzuaga, Bonnie. “We Must Protect Expectant Mothers in Immigrant Detention Centers, Now More Than Ever.” Ms. Magazine, May 4, 2020. Arzuaga, a neonatologist, examines how systems of incarcerations have a particularly negative impact on pregnant women and their newborns. This opinion piece looks at how immigration policy exemptions for pregnant women and children are routinely ignored and disregarded. On top of the “massive increase in pregnant women in ICE detention…the number of miscarriages while in detention nearly doubled during the first two years of Trump’s presidency alone.” During the current pandemic, CDC’s health recommendations are not followed by ICE—no social distancing, unsanitary housing, lack of masks and soaps, mass quarantine with little effect. (Opinion)
Romero, Dennis. “First Coronavirus Death in U.S. Immigration Detention Reported.” NBC News, May 6, 2020. Contractor-run detention centers have higher cases of COVID-19 amongst detainees and employees, and there are multiple legal challenges against ICE to release detainees.
Merchant, Nomaan. “Advocates Warn of More Immigrant Deaths without ICE Action.” ABC News, May 7, 2020. ABC News reports, “Lawyers and immigrant advocates are warning that more people will die of the coronavirus in U.S. immigration custody unless the Trump administration improves conditions and release more detainees…following the first confirmed virus-related death of a detainee [Carlos Ernesto Escobar].” The overwhelming concern is the lack of ICE’s capacity to provide preventative safety measures or medical treatment based on CDC regulation is likely to cause a catastrophe soon.
Jordan, Miriam, and Richard A. Oppel Jr. “For Latinos and Covid-19, Doctors Are Seeing an ‘Alarming’ Disparity.” The New York Times, May 7, 2020. The Times looks at how Latinos are overexposed to COVID-19. In terms of the risk-factors that the Latinos face, they are “the same factors that have put minorities at risk across the country [such as] low-paying service jobs that require them to work through the pandemic [and] lack [of] access to health care, which contributes to higher rates of diabetes and other conditions that can worsen infections.” The Times also notes the differences between states based on economic stability: “The disparities are bigger in states like Oregon, Washington and Utah that have newer and less-established Latino communities, compared with states like California, Arizona and New Mexico.”
Migration Policy Institute. “As Millions Are Pushed from Jobs amid Pandemic, the Loss of Employer Health Coverage & Limited Access to Public Coverage for Many Immigrants Hold Major Implications for Them – and U.S. Overall.” Migration Policy Press Release, May 7, 2020. The Migration Policy Institute focuses on how the negative impact of COVID-19 is more pronounced amongst immigrants because they “disproportionately worked, pre-pandemic, in the types of businesses (retail, food service and hospitality, for example) that were hit first and hardest as government officials issued orders closing non-essential businesses and/or requiring residents to stay at home.”
Yang, Stephanie. “New York’s Chinatown Businesses Struggle to Survive Coronavirus Shutdown,” Wall Street Journal, May 7, 2020. New York’s ban on dining and anti-Chinese xenophobia has dealt the neighborhood a double blow.
The coronavirus pandemic is hitting black and brown Americans especially hard on all fronts, CNN, May 9, 2020. Though the available data paint a grim picture, the numbers are incomplete. Much of the state and federal data on COVID-19 cases and deaths are preliminary, while race and ethnicity information isn't even available for tens of thousands of cases. Advocacy groups have called on the federal government to release more detailed numbers, and experts and community leaders fear that the reality may be even worse.
Arroyo, Andrea. The Pandemic’s Impact on Immigration Detention Centers. The Nation, May 8, 2020. Artwork on ICE detention center from OppArt through The Nation.
Romero, Simon, and Jack Healy. “Tribal Nations Face Most Severe Crisis in Decades as the Coronavirus Closes Casinos.” The New York Times, May 11, 2020. The Times reports on the job loss created by closure of 500 tribal casinos.
Narea, Nicole. “Trump is continuing deportations during the pandemic. It's causing the coronavirus to spread.” Vox, May 12, 2020. The US has suspended most of its immigration processes but has continued to charter deportation flights. Some deportees have carried COVID-19 to Central America and the Caribbean where health care systems are already fragile and testing capacity is lacking. “In Guatemala, these deportees account for roughly 19 percent of the country’s total coronavirus cases,” Vox reports.
Hollenbach, David. “Who Suffers Most during the Coronavirus Pandemic?” America: The Jesuit Review of Faith & Culture, May 13, 2020. Hollenbach looks at the regional distribution of extreme poverty and displacement and the potentially disastrous effect of COVID-19. He emphasizes the history of Catholic social justice movements and seeks global humanitarian relief organizations that can intervene in the current crisis. (Opinion)
Rao, Maya. “COVID-19 Poses Special Challenges for Immigrants in the Country Illegally and Their Families.” Star Tribune, May 13, 2020. The Star Tribune covers the irony of undocumented immigrants paying taxes and working in critical sectors, while not being covered by various public assistance programs. In Minnesota, such residents are estimated to be 90,000. There are legislative attempts to address this gap in government assistance, but they are unlikely to pass.
Joseph, Paniel E. “On Tracking the Racial Disparities in Covid-19 Death Rates.” Literary Hub, May 14, 2020. This is a summary of a Keen On podcast episode on how COVID-19 reveals structural inequalities in the US, such as racism and xenophobia that affect how people are responding to the various state-level COVID-19 responses.
Tordesillas, Rosalind. “Little Manila’s ‘Meal to Heal’ Effort Brings Food to Filipino Health Workers.” Public Radio International, May 15, 2020. This news podcast covers the large proportion of Filipino and Filipino American health workers in the US and the resulting disproportionately high risk that the Filipino American communities confront in New York. The World also discuss the colonial ties between the Philippines and NYC starting from the 1900s through an interview with Professor Kevin Nadal.
Soloff, Andalusia Knoll. “In New York City, Indigenous Mexicans Battle Coronavirus amid Language Barriers, Bias.” NBC News, May 16, 2020. NBC reports how language barriers and discrimination are affecting indigenous Mexicans who are immigrants and how COVID-19 related economic impact in the US is causing ripple effects in places that receive remittances.
Varner, Natasha. “Epidemics in American Concentration Camps: From the ‘White Plague’ to COVID-19.” The Abusable Past, May 18, 2020. Varner connects that experiences of Japanese Americans combatting a tuberculosis outbreak in World War Two incarceration camps to the pandemic today. "Sites of incarceration present major threats to detained individuals, and these threats grow exponentially in the face of public health crises," Varner writes. Learning from this history is "a matter of life and death" today.
Gamboa, Suzanne. “Fearing Trump’s Green Card Policy, Families with Immigrants May Opt out of Coronavirus Care.” NBC News, May 18, 2020. NBC News reports on how the public charge rule may impact healthcare during the pandemic. “Families who have at least one member without a green card are fearful of using public benefit programs because of a Trump immigration policy, creating concern they may also avoid publicly available coronavirus testing and treatment,” it reports.
Aguilera, Jasmine. “Many Asylum Seekers in Mexico Can’t Get U.S. Court Hearings Until 2021. A Coronavirus Outbreak Could ‘Devastate’ Them.” Time, May 19, 2020. Time details the impact coronavirus has had on asylum seekers living in camps that are part of the Remain in Mexico program. A lack of adequate resources and space has created outbreaks in the camps as asylum seekers now wait up to a year for new court hearing dates.
Constante, Agnes. “Asian American COVID-19 Death Rate in San Francisco Concerning, Researchers Say.” NBC News, May 20, 2020. NBC News focuses on the health disparities for Asian Americans. It quotes preliminary findings from Asian American Research Center on Health that states “Asian Americans constituted 13.7 percent of all cases of infections in San Francisco but had the highest proportion of deaths to cases across all racial groups. ...52 percent”.
Silverman, Hollie, Konstantin Toropin, Sara Sidner, and Leslie Perrot. “Navajo Nation Surpasses New York State for the Highest Covid-19 Infection Rate in the US.” CNN, May 18, 2020. CNN reports that “the Navajo Nation has surpassed New York and New Jersey for the highest per-capita coronavirus infection rate in the US—another sign of COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on minority communities.”
Thorbecke, Catherine and Deena Zaru. “Asian Americans face coronavirus 'double whammy': Skyrocketing unemployment and discrimination.” ABC News, May 20, 2020. Chinese-American business owners and employees face xenophobic aggression in NYC that equates Asians with COVID-19, as well as economic challenge. In NY, where there is “the second-largest population of people of Asian descent in the US...saw a 10,210% year-over-year increase of unemployment filings among Asian Americans (51,653 compared to 501 in 2019)—the highest of any racial group—for the week ending April 11.” Apart from lengthy interviews, the article also includes a video coverage of the economic impact of COVID-19.
Chadde, Sky, Kyle Bagenstose, Veronica Martinez Jacobo, and Rachel Axon. “Cheap Chicken, Beef Came at a Cost. How American Meat Plants Bred Coronavirus Hot Spots.” USA Today, May 21, 2020. USA Today reports how companies “actively recruited [immigrants] in search of a steady supply of unskilled labor… Rural, immigrant workers who churn through the plants are especially vulnerable to a disease outbreak even before they step onto the line.”
Navratil, Liz, and Kim Hyatt. “Virus Hits Hard in Minneapolis’ Cedar-Riverside Neighborhood | Star Tribune.” Star Tribune, May 23, 2020. Cedar-Riverside, which has high population density and is predominantly Black, now has at least 150 cases of COVID-19. The Star Tribune notes that “Minneapolis, along with Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Chicago [is among] the four metro areas in the nation where infection rates are persistent or rising.”
Gonzalez, Daniel, and Lauren Villagran. “For-Profit Texas Immigrant Detention Center Faces Major COVID-19 Outbreak.” El Paso Times, May 23, 2020. The El Paso Times reports on the notoriously poor health conditions inside for-profit detention centers. At Bluebonnet Detention Center in rural West Texas, 111 detainees (more than one-quarter of immigrant detainees,) recently tested positive for COVID-19. The article also cites an ACLU study on how “private, for-profit contractors convert[ed] former prisons such as Bluebonnet into immigration detention facilities” as well as lawsuits pending against ICE.
Devereaux, Ryan. “ICE Detainee Who Died of Covid-19 Suffered Horrifying Neglect.” The Intercept, May 24, 2020. This investigative report focuses on the Otay Mesa Detention Center and the death of Carlos Ernesto Escobar Mejia.
Hennessy-Fiske, Molly. “Cuban doctors and nurses seeking asylum keep border clinic running during pandemic.” Los Angeles Times, May 25, 2020. A clinic in Matamoros is almost completely run by asylum seekers affected by Remain in Mexico policy. The clinic treats other asylum seekers while waiting for their delayed asylum hearings, trying to suppress COVID-19.
Clark, Maria. “In the Deep South, the COVID-19 pandemic creates unique challenges for immigrant communities.” Tennessean, May 27, 2020. In Southern states, there seems to be a pattern of people avoiding medical treatment due to fear of confrontation with authorities and immigration raids, the paper reports. Other economic and social challenges such as food security, English-only public health information, and such are impacting Hispanic and Latino community. The Tennessean argues that “getting data at the neighborhood level will be an important next step.”
Raff, Jeremy. “How Fear Spreads the Coronavirus.” The Atlantic, May 29, 2020. Taking a look at the Chelsea neighborhood in New York City, the Atlantic explores how COVID-19 and immigration restrictions, from raids to the proposed public charge rule, endanger the health of immigrant community members. According to a federal judge, “basically, the rule right now is: If I’m dying from coronavirus, it’s not used against me, but if I’m dying of cancer, it is used against me.”
Gonzalez, Daniel. “COVID-19 Outbreak at ICE Detention Center in Eloy Has Ballooned into One of the Largest in the Nation.” The Arizona Republic, May 31, 2020. Immigrants detained at the La Palma Correctional Center, which is a former prison run by ICE-contracted for-profit company, are worried over a spike of COVID-19 cases. The Arizona Republic reveals a letter by detainees which states, “In this place, hygiene measures are not taken, we do not receive adequate medical treatment or food, and these factors make us more likely to contract the virus.”
Morrissey, Kate. “Asylum seekers stranded in Tijuana struggle to hang on amid pandemic.” The San Diego Union-Tribune, May 31, 2020. Asylum seekers who are stuck in Mexico awaiting their delayed court hearings are struggling amidst the rising coronavirus cases there. Increasing instability in proper food and housing is making the wait much more difficult.
Ortiz, Fernie. “Report: Ongoing Transfer of ICE Detainees Leading to COVID-19 Outbreaks.” BorderReport.Com, June 1, 2020. According to Border Report, “to slow the spread of the coronavirus, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement continues to shuffle and transfer hundreds of detainees. But it has led to outbreaks at facilities.” Democrat senators wrote a letter for “ICE to expand COVID-19 testing at all ICE facilities, including processing centers, privately run facilities, and local jails contracting with ICE.”
Wessler, Seth Freed. “Fear, Illness and Death in ICE Detention: How a Protest Grew on the Inside.” Type Investigations and The New York Times Magazine, June 4, 2020. By covering organized strikes inside detention facilities run by ICE, Wessler shows how scarce the protection against COVID-19 is for the incarcerated across the US. It also discusses the development of detention centers in American history, the rapid changes since 1980, and COVID-19 related risks that the courts are overlooking.
Rachko, Thomas J. “Second Covid-19 Death in US Immigration Detention.” Human Rights Watch, June 4, 2020. The organizations reports the death of Santiago Baten-Oxlaj from Guatemala, who is the second person to die in ICE custody from COVID-19 complications. There is a total of 818 in ICE custody with confirmed cases. Human Rights Watch calls for congress to “demand transparency from ICE and require that it release detailed reports on investigations into these deaths, as well as push ICE to release more people.”
Soboroff, Jacob, and Julia Ainsley. “Migrants Say They Were Forced to Clean COVID-Infected ICE Facility.” NBC News, June 10, 2020. NBC News reports, “Asylum-seeking migrants locked up inside an Arizona Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center with one of the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases say they were forced to clean the facility and are ‘begging’ for protection from the virus, according to a letter obtained exclusively by NBC News.” It includes a MSNBC video on a facility giving rotten foods and no personal protection equipment.
Arnold, Chris. “Thousands Of Workers Say Their Jobs Are Unsafe As Economy Reopens.” Morning Edition. NPR, June 11, 2020. As the economy reopens, OSHA has received thousands of complaints from workers who fear that their workplaces are unsafe. Labor unions are suing OSHA to get it to issue emergency national mandatory safety requirements.
Montecinos, Claudia. “RELEASE: Data on the Coronavirus Outbreak in Immigration Detention Offer More Questions than Answers.” Center for American Progress, June 16, 2020. Based on an analysis of data related to outbreaks in immigration detentions, Montecinos criticizes ICE’s COVID-19 testing data discrepancy and the “federal government’s ongoing failure to protect the health and safety of detained people, facility staff and their family members, and communities at large because of ICE’s lack of transparency when sharing its numbers on testing in detention centers.”
Amnesty International. “As COVID-19 Risk Continues, Immigrant Rights Groups Increase Actions Calling for Release from Detention to Protect Immigrants.” Amnesty International USA, June 20, 2020. Referencing the “systemic racism, over-policing, and unlawful police killings of Black people,” the organization focuses on how the US immigration system “harms and punishes Black and brown immigrants disproportionately.” It criticizes the federal authorities for being complicit in spreading COVID-19 and endangering public health.
Miller, Kevin. “Maine has nation’s worst COVID-19 racial disparity.” Portland Press Herald, June 22, 2020. Portland Press Herald reports that despite Maine’s “lowest COVID-19 infection rates in the country on a per-capita basis”, the state’s Black residents experience a disproportionate impact because they demographically include recent immigrants with lower incomes and have “more limited access to health care and less job security even before the pandemic.”
Carrasco, Luis. “Essay: He Fled the Gangs. But Can He Escape the Deadly ‘petri Dish’ of COVID-19?” Houston Chronicle, June 26, 2020. Carrasco criticizes the “needless risk” ICE exposes the detainees inside immigration detention centers to by continuously transferring people around and not following CDC standards. (Opinion)
Bosque, Melissa del and Isabel Macdonald. “Exporting the Virus: How Trump’s Deportation Flights Are Putting Latin America and the Caribbean at Risk.” The Intercept, June 26, 2020. A report revealing how the U.S. has sent more than 350 deportation flights to Latin America and the Caribbean since February, resulting in devastating public health risks in the region.
CNN Wire. “Immigrant Detainees Describe Deteriorating Conditions as Coronavirus Spreads in ICE Facilities.” KTLA, June 27, 2020. Conditions have worsened at a Virginia detention facility, as people with coronavirus symptoms are detained within. According to KTLA, “fears and desperation among detainees over the pandemic have given way to protests. Advocacy groups say hunger strikes have been on the rise since concerns about Covid-19 surged.”
Russell, Kiley. “Anti-Immigrant Policies Intensify COVID-19 Impact on Vulnerable Communities.” KTVU. June 27, 2020. KTVU criticizes the federal government for “still failing to extend protections to the nation's vulnerable immigrant communities” and people of color. The article also discusses the problems with the COVID-19 Cares Act relief package and the proposed second “Heroes Act” relief act, as well as the public charge rule.
Hofschneider, Anita. “COVID-19 Cases Among Pacific Islanders Surge In Hawaii.” Honolulu Civil Beat, June 29, 2020. Honolulu Civil Beat reports on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 in Hawaii, with “nearly a quarter of all confirmed coronavirus cases in Hawaii involve Pacific Islanders, who make up just 4% of the state’s population” and “Filipino community…[who] represent 16% of the population but comprise 21% of statewide cases.” (infographic)
Kuo, Dennis, Noelle Smart, Zachary Lawrence, and Adam Garcia. “The Hidden Curve: Estimating the Spread of COVID-19 among People in ICE Detention.” The Vera Institute of Justice, June 29, 2020. The social-justice driven Vera Institute of Justice issued a new report using an epidemiological model to estimate the prevalence of COVID-19 in detention.
Brigida, Anna-Catherine, Acacia Coronado, and Emily Kinskey. “Between Borders: From a doctor stranded in Ciudad Juárez to a shelter closed after an outbreak, COVID-19 is hitting hard along the Texas-Mexico border.” The Texas Observer, June 30, 2020. Based on reporting from Juárez, Matamoros, and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, this story examines the plight of tens of thousands of “increasingly desperate asylum-seekers and other migrants [who] remain stalled in the system as reported cases of COVID-19 grow in Mexican shelters, U.S. detention centers, and border states surrounding them.” The story is part of a Pulitzer Center-supported series on the impact of COVID-19 on immigrants along the detention to deportation pipeline.
Salamanca, Jean-Paul. “Latino Advocates Say COVID-19 Stats Don’t Include Immigrants Who Avoid Tests, Die at Home.” Newsday, July 1, 2020. Using the video interview with Cheryl Keshner, a senior paralegal and community advocate, Newsday reports how “Latino advocates are worried that the toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on immigrants on Long Island is greater than what state statistics reveal because of their reluctance to seek hospital care due to fear of deportation, medical costs and other concerns.”
Hofschneider, Anita. “COVID-19 Disparities For Pacific Islanders Worsen Nationally.” Honolulu Civil Beat, July 1, 2020. Honolulu Civil Beat reports that “Pacific Islanders continue to face high rates of COVID-19 across multiple states, and in some areas the disparities are worsening.” It includes an interactive Story Map titled “COVID-19 and Indigenous Pacific Peoples in America” that focus on the health disparities faced by Pacific Islanders across the US.
Sesin, Carmen. “COVID-19 Cases among Immigrant Detainees Could Be 15 Times Higher than ICE Reports, Study Says.” NBC News, July 1, 2020. NBC News uses the Vera Institute of Justice’s projections to report that ICE “could be severely underreporting the number of COVID-19 infections in detention centers.” Because of current ICE practice of transferring detainees around different locations, the number is likely to be 15 times higher.
Snow, Anita. “Latino, Black Neighborhoods Struggle with Test Disparities.” AP News, July 6, 2020. Access to COVID-19 testing is rare in Arizona and Florida’s low-income neighborhoods, Black and Latino communities, and immigrant communities. AP notes that in the US, “most chain pharmacies and urgent care clinics offering tests are found” in middle class areas—this exposes and exacerbates existing health disparities.
Villagran, Lauren. “Pregnant migrant sought refuge, but learned there’s ‘no help right now’ at US-Mexico border.” El Paso Times, July 8, 2020. An eight months pregnant woman seeking asylum at the southern border after fleeing Honduras following the murder of her baby’s father and being threatened was immediately turned away, receiving no aid from the agents. The El Paso Times notes that "for those seeking protection in the U.S., the border has become a dead end."
Montoya-Galvez, Camilo. “Proposed rule would allow officers to deny asylum, humanitarian refuge on public health grounds.” CBS News, July 8, 2020. A new rule proposed by the Trump administration would allow the U.S. to immediately turn away migrants coming to the southern border, including those seeking asylum, if they post a threat of having COVID-19 or if they come from countries that are currently hotspots for the disease.
Rodrigues-Sherley, Marcela. “Immigrant Detention During COVID-19: ‘Total Disregard for People Inside.’” Ms. Magazine, July 9, 2020. The conditions inside private company-owned immigration detention centers are continuously deteriorating due to a lack of personal protection equipment and other resources. Immigration attorneys and advocates are frustrated with the time and resources spent to prove to the federal government that these facilities pose extremely high risk to detainees and the larger public.
Kassie, Emily, and Barbara Marcolini. “How ICE Exported the Coronavirus.” Marshall Project, July 13, 2020. This report illustrates how unsafe conditions and insufficient testing helped Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to spread the virus in the US and abroad—and how the Trump administration pressured countries to take in sick deportees.
Rosenberg, Mica. “Nearly 1,000 US Immigration Detention Center Workers Test Positive for Coronavirus.” Huffington Post, July 14, 2020. Executives of companies that are contracted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to run private immigrant detention facilities testified before Congress. They admitted that more than 930 employees have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Drake, Kayla. “Language Barriers Hinder Spanish-Speaking Immigrants From Getting Coronavirus Tests.” St. Louis Public Radio, July 14, 2020. Non-English speaking immigrants in St. Louis have faced hurdles, such as automated phone recordings in English and complex health care systems, in their attempts to access COVID-19 information. Now, more hospitals and clinics provide Spanish-language translations, and some do not require social security numbers or identification cards.
Loera-Brust, Antonio De. “As the U.S. Exports Coronavirus, Trump Is Blaming Mexicans.” Foreign Policy, July 14, 2020. Loera-Brust criticizes President Trump and other Republicans, such as Alex Azar and Ron DeSantis, for using xenophobia against Mexicans and Latinos to cover up the president's mishandling of COVID-19 pandemic. He also notes the “long history of blaming ‘dirty’ Mexicans for spreading disease” in the 20th century. (Opinion)
Morris, Mike, Olivia P. Tallet, and Stephanie Lamm. “COVID Is Hitting Houston Hispanics Hard - and It’s Getting Worse.” Houston Chronicle, July 16, 2020. Infections of Hispanic residents are rapidly outpacing other ethnic groups.
Vega, Priscella. “Ventura County Sees Increase in Number of Positive Coronavirus Cases among Farmworkers.” Los Angeles Times, July 16, 2020. The LA Times reports that “farmworkers account for 7% of the nearly 5,000 positive coronavirus cases in Ventura County after an outbreak at a farmworkers housing complex.” With hospitals at full capacity, government departments and organizations are now issuing 1 million masks and COVID-19 symptoms info flyers. There is also a partnership with a Mixtec language radio program to reach growing numbers of indigenous Mexican migrants.
Sohn, Rebecca. “Without a trace: This California county has stopped contact tracing as coronavirus surges.” Cal Matters, July 16, 2020. Contract tracing is supposed to help prevent infection, but as Cal Matters reports, efforts can backfire with undocumented immigrants when contact tracers send law enforcement to the homes of individuals who may have been exposed, but who cannot be reached by tracers.
Lin, Summer. “US Senator — without Data — Says NC Hispanics Get COVID More Due to Not Wearing Masks.” The News & Observer, July 16, 2020. The News & Observer analyzes racialized health disparities in the US, with a focus on occupational exposure to COVID-19 and socioeconomic status. The article criticizes Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) for attributing the high percentage of Hispanic Latinx testing positive to non-compliance with mask wearing and social distancing.
Rosenberg, Mica, Kristina Cooke, and Reade Levinson. “U.S. Immigration Officials Spread Coronavirus with Detainee Transfers.” Reuters, July 17, 2020. A detailed Reuters review of ICE data, attained through court records, shows how detainee transfers between ICE detention centers after hundreds of detainees testing positive for COVID-19 led to super-spreading events.
Spagat, Elliot. “How the Coronavirus Spread through One Immigration Facility.” AP News, July 19, 2020. An investigation into the Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego reveals how it became the site of a big outbreak in ICE’s 221 detention centers. Many shortcomings in how the private company that manages the center handled the spread of the disease are examined.
Gomez, Melissa. “Many Latino Workers Fear Getting Tested for COVID-19. A San Francisco Program Aims to Change That.” Los Angeles Times, July 21, 2020. A San Francisco program created culturally-sensitive solutions to combat the high infection rates among Latinos.
Alvarez, Priscilla, and Geneva Sands. “Judge Rejects Plea to Release Immigrant Families in Detention Due to Covid-19.” CNN, July 23, 2020. Advocates called for the release of all detainees due to heightened health risks from COVID-19 pandemic, and Judge James Boasberg in the US District Court for the District of Columbia ruled against their blanket release. However, the ruling stated that entire families need to be released, not just children.
Il, Rong-gong Lin, Sean Greene, and Priscella Vega. “Coronavirus Is Killing More Californians than Ever before, and Cruel Inequities Are Worsening.” Los Angeles Times, July 24, 2020. An extensive report on how Californians of color, especially Latinx residents, are far more likely to become infected or die from the coronavirus. The most recent surge in cases exacerbates those inequities. The article also notes the health impact of COVID-19 on farmworkers and healthcare workers.
Kavalakatt, Rachel. “‘A History of Racist Policies and Practices’: Coronavirus Reveals Racial Disparities in Healthcare.” The Stanford Daily, July 25, 2020. While race-based data on the public health impact from the COVID-19 are incomplete, researchers write that the pandemic has “unearthed existing racial disparities in healthcare, with Black and Hispanic populations disproportionately affected and making up approximately 60% of all COVID-19 cases and over 50% of deaths in California.” The causes for this disparity include: higher rates of existing conditions, difficulty of accessing preventative measures due to lower social economic status, occupational exposure, and other historic policies of exclusion.
Narea, Nicole. “The Trump Administration’s Choice for Immigrant Families in Detention: Separate or Risk Covid-19.” Vox, July 29, 2020. Vox explores how family separations are more rare simply because the asylum system has shut down during COVID-19 pandemic. It also notes the health risks of staying in immigration detention centers, and the limitation of the July 27 order by District Judge Dolly Gee.
Dooling, Shannon. “New Survey Shows The Pandemic’s Toll On Immigrant Households Throughout Mass.” WBUR from NPR, July 31, 2020. A recent survey quantifies food and housing insecurity and job loss in Massachusetts’s immigrant families.
Beer, Tommy. “Biden Supports Free Coronavirus Tests And Vaccines For Undocumented Immigrants.” Forbes, August 6, 2020. Joe Biden said in an interview with the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists that available COVID-19 testing and vaccines should be accessible to any and all people in the country who need them, even undocumented immigrants.
Chin, Monica. “The ICE Directive is Gone, But International Students Still Fear Deportation.” The Verge, August 18, 2020. A month after the ICE directive stating international students could not remain in the U.S. if their courses were online for fall 2020, many international students are increasingly unsure if they will continue their education and work-life in the U.S. Fear for their health as the pandemic worsens in the U.S. and the country’s attitude towards immigrants left them looking towards other countries.
“Guatemala says 8 minors of 60 deported were COVID-positive.” AP News, August 25, 2020. Guatemala’s Health Ministry reported that eight out of sixty minors being deported on a flight from Louisiana tested positive for coronavirus after arriving in Guatemala City, despite continual assurance from the U.S. that everyone they were deporting was healthy.
Romero, Simon, and Patricia Mazzei. “New Virus Hot Spots: U.S. Islands from Hawaii to Puerto Rico.” The New York Times, August 25, 2020. There are growing COVID-19 cases in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii, Guam, and Puerto Rico, showing that cases “can spike even in places far removed from urban centers when controls are relaxed.” So far, the only exception is American Samoa, which halted all incoming flights early in the pandemic as a result of the response to a measles outbreak in late 2019.
“233 more virus cases reported at ICE facility in Arizona.” AP News, August 28, 2020. La Palma Correctional Center in Arizona reported 233 confirmed coronavirus cases in one day. This is overwhelmingly larger than other ICE facilities across the country, who are typically reporting cases in the single digits. Advocacy groups are fighting for detention centers to release those that are especially vulnerable to coronavirus.
Aleaziz, Hamed. “A 50-Year-Old Honduran Immigrant Who Died In Ice Custody Had Tested Positive For COVID-19.” Buzzfeed News, August 30, 2020. A fifty-year-old man from Honduras who was being held in ICE custody in Texas died from respiratory failure after testing positive for COVID-19. His death is indicative of the inadequate conditions in many detention centers, where there is no proper room to social distance and keep oneself safe from coronavirus outbreaks.
Davison, Madeleine. “Deportation flights helping spread pandemic, says Witness at the Border.” National Catholic Reporter, September 1, 2020. Throughout the pandemic, ICE continued to use flights to deport immigrants and transfer them from one detention facility to another in the U.S. Some of these immigrants have tested positive once landing in other countries, effectively aiding the spread of COVID-19 in other parts of the world.
Guerrero, Maurizio. “Covid-19 Hunger Strikes Sweep Migrant Detention Centers.” In These Times, September 1, 2020. Across the nation, roughly 2,500 detained immigrants have participated in hunger strikes protesting COVID-19 conditions in ICE facilities since March.
Elam, Stephanie. “Why Latinos in California Are Being Hit Hard by Covid-19.” CNN, September 3, 2020. CNN reports that based on Johns Hopkins University’s study, “racial and ethnic information is only available for about 35% of all deaths in the United States, but even in that small percentage it is evident that Latinx Americans are unevenly impacted by the coronavirus in some regions” and notes the Kaiser Family Foundation’s research that South and West will see increased disparities affected POC groups.
Pilkington, Ed. “Covid-19 death rate among African Americans and Latinos rising sharply.” The Guardian, September 8, 2020. As the U.S. reaches almost 200,000 COVID-19 deaths, a disproportionate amount of them is African Americans and Latinos. African Americans are dying at a rate of 88 per 100,000 people and Latinos at 54 per 100,000, whereas white Americans are dying at a rate of 40 per 100,000 people.
Watson, Marlene F., Gonzalo Bacigalupe, Manijeh Daneshpour, Wen-Jui Han, and Rubén Parra-Cardona. “COVID-19 Interconnectedness: Health Inequity, the Climate Crisis, and Collective Trauma.” Family Process 59, no. 3 (September 2020): 832–46. This research calls on family therapists to be aware of the “cultural values, social determinants of health, collective trauma, and the ethical and moral responsibility of family therapists”, as the pandemic reveals historical and current social dilemmas that impact marginalized BIPOC community in the U.S. It also points that the “lack of access to and the quality of healthcare, affordable housing, and lack of financial resources...have a more significant impact on documented and undocumented immigrants.”
Blitzer, Joseph. “The Private Georgia Immigration-Detention Facility at the Center of a Whistle-Blower’s Complaint.” The New Yorker, September 19, 2020. The Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia, run by the private company LaSalle Corrections, has had a formal complaint filed against it after a video and a whistle-blower detailed the terrible conditions inside. The staff has been accused of doing little to nothing to keep immigrants safe from COVID-19, and patterns of abuse and negligence of detainees have become evident.
Theobald, Brianna. “The history of eugenics in the U.S. has made migrant women vulnerable.” The Washington Post, September 20, 2020. Brianna Theobald, historian, reports on a whistleblower who alleged that Irwin County Detention Center has coerced many immigrant women into hysterectomies and sterilization. Along with forced reproductive procedures, women in this center also suffered sexual abuse by staff, inadequate access to medical care, and rampant use of solitary confinement. There has been a major pushback from activists who point out the United States’ long history of eugenic practices against women and people who are poor, BIPOC, incarcerated, or with disabilities. (Opinion)
Hernández, Arelis R. “‘It’s just too much to handle.’” The Washington Post, September 22, 2020. Latino communities, including citizens, immigrants, and asylum seekers, are making up an increasing portion of those in the U.S. dying from COVID-19. This largely stems from historical disadvantages that result in many of them being essential workers, having less access to healthcare, and improper space to social distance.
Gamboa, Suzanne. “Coronavirus is causing the ‘historic decimation’ of Latinos, medical expert says.” NBC News, September 30, 2020. Latinos in the U.S. are contracting and dying from COVID-19 at rates much higher than white Americans – 61 per 100,000 versus 40 per 100,000, respectively. Dr. Anthony Fauci said this problem must be addressed by understanding the historical social determinants that put Latinos at higher risk and by providing faster and better access to treatment and testing.
Barofsky, Jeremy, Ariadna Vargas, Dinardo Rodriguez, and Anthony Barrows. “Spreading Fear: The Announcement Of The Public Charge Rule Reduced Enrollment In Child Safety-Net Programs.” Health Affairs (Project Hope) 39, no. 10 (October 2020): 1752–61. Safety-net programs improve health for low-income children over the short and long term. The Trump administration’s announcement in 2018 to change guidance on “public charge”, defined as a noncitizen primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, became implemented in February 2020. Research results suggest that thousands of eligible, low-income children might not have received safety-net support during COVID-19 pandemic.
Nelson, Alondra. “READ | #coronavirussyllabus.” Covid-19 and the Social Sciences - Social Science Research Council (blog), October 2020. SSRC president curated articles related to “public health, disease outbreaks, pandemics and other social shocks [that] helps to orient the Covid-19 crisis, revealing contours that are both unprecedented and familiar.”
Rodríguez Presa, Laura. “Older people will soon receive health coverage in Illinois regardless of immigration status under first-in-nation program: ‘It’s a relief.’” Chicago Tribune, October 5, 2020. Illinois is the first state to pass funding that will provide “low-income immigrants age 65 and older” with health care coverage regardless of their immigration status. Starting in December, this gives undocumented immigrants that are at high risk of catching coronavirus the ability to seek medical care if they need to.
Pegah, Maleki, Mutaz Al Mudaris, Kuang K. Oo, and Elizabeth Dawson-Hahn. “Training Contact Tracers for Populations With Limited English Proficiency During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” American Journal of Public Health 111, no. 1 (October 15, 2020): 20-24. Using their backgrounds in bicultural health care, Pegah, Al Mudaris, Oo, and Dawson-Hahn detail how contact tracers should be trained to best help minorities and immigrant communities, specifically those with “limited English proficiency,” as these groups have been harmed disproportionately by the pandemic.
AAPI Data. “Asian Americans and COVID-19 Deaths.” Oct 18, 2020. When comparing how many Asian Americans have died in the first seven months of 2020 to the five-year average from 2015-2019, approximately 35% more people have died due to the pandemic. Notably, the death rate has gone up by 107% in New Jersey and 110% in New York.
Janmohamed, Zahir. “Black Immigrants in the Whitest State.” A Better Life?, October 7, 2020. This episode of A Better Life? discusses the challenges for African immigrants in Maine, where “black residents are twenty times more likely to contract Covid-19 than white residents.” Many African immigrants are more likely to get it because they are frontline workers and live in closer, lower economic areas. They receive a lot of hate and racism for the higher case numbers. (Podcast)
Rosenberg, Mica and Kristina Cooke. “Amid pandemic, sharply increased U.S. detention times put migrants at risk.” Reuters, October 9, 2020. During the pandemic, immigrants and asylum seekers are being kept in ICE detention centers for “longer than any period in at least a decade.” Conditions in detention and the fact that ICE has continued to move people from center to center have made following social distancing guidelines more difficult and have spread outbreaks of COVID-19.
Berry, Deborah Barfield, and Kameel Stanley. “In New Jersey's Most Segregated County, Racism and Coronavirus Made a 'Vicious Circle'.” USA Today, October 22, 2020. COVID-19 death rates in NJ show people of color are dying at a higher rate due to housing segregation policies. This article is one of the six-part USA Today's "Deadly Discrimination" series that explores the impact of racist policies on Black, Latino, Asian, and Indigenous Americans.
Washington, John, and José Olivares. “Number of Women Alleging Misconduct by ICE Gynecologist Nearly Triples.” The Intercept, October 27, 2020. Medical misconduct at Irwin County Detention Center, which is operated by the private prison company LaSalle Corrections, includes “unnecessary or overly aggressive gynecological procedures without proper informed consent.”
Aguilera, Jasmine. “Asylum Seekers With Disabilities Challenge Trump Admin’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy in New Lawsuit.” Time, November 2, 2020. A lawsuit brought against the federal government states that the government has broken laws that protect disabled people from discrimination by keeping immigrants with disabilities in Mexico as part of the Remain in Mexico program when they should be exempt. Many of these people are at higher risk of catching COVID-19 and cannot get the care they need in Mexico.
Shihipar, Abdullah, William Goedel, and Sophia Gurulé. “ICE is putting people who were released due to COVID-19 concerns back in jails. The decision is dangerous as the country enters another wave.” Business Insider, November 15, 2020. Toward the beginning of the pandemic, some immigrants were being released from jails and detention to free up space in crowded, unsafe cells with poor medical care. Now, those same people are being picked up and put back in cells, and others are being rounded up in raids as experts say a dangerous second wave is coming. A controversial tactic being used for confirmed cases is solitary confinement. (Opinion)
Merchant, Nooman. “Lawyers: Children detained at border facing COVID exposure.” AP News, November 20, 2020. 65 immigrant minors are being detained at a U.S. Border Patrol station in Weslaco, Texas, with little protection from COVID-19. Several children say they have no room to social distance and have no access to soap, hand sanitizer, and more masks.
McClure, Elizabeth S., Pavithra Vasudevan, Zinzi Bailey, Snehal Patel, and Whitney R. Robinson. “Racial Capitalism Within Public Health-How Occupational Settings Drive COVID-19 Disparities.” American Journal of Epidemiology 189, no. 11 (November 2, 2020): 1244–53. This research examines “selective use of race-specific algorithms for workers’ compensation that reduces industries’ liability for worker health” and highlights the parallel between the historically rooted, “unexamined belief in inherent physiological inferiority of Black Americans” and the COVID-19 disparities complicated by racial capitalism.
Thomas, Gayle, Federico Subervi-Vélez, Habacuc Petion, and Heather Kathrens. “Health Misinformation and Social Media: A Potent Combination.” Migrant Clinicians Network, November 12, 2020. (Webinar) This panel discusses how misinformation regarding COVID-19 vaccine spreads quickly on social media and brings “a health department representative, a social media expert, a clinician caring for migrant farmworkers and a community leader to...share resources to help the community evaluate social media in order to know whether the information is likely to be true and if they should share the information.”
Langer Research Associates. “Coronavirus Vaccine Hesitancy in Black and Latinx Communities.” COVID Collaborative, November 23, 2020. COVID Collaborative, Langer Research, UnidosUS, and the NAACP conducted a poll in September 2020 on COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in the Black and Latinx communities. This executive report summarizes their findings and highlights key areas of focus for increasing vaccine uptake. (Full report)
Carranza, Rafael. “As border wall goes up, southern Arizona sees spike in human smuggling.” Arizona Republic, November 30, 2020. Amid the Trump administration’s immigration restrictions at the border, there has been a large rise in human smuggling in southern Arizona. The smuggling is no longer limited to the night, as immigrants and asylum seekers are becoming more desperate to escape dangerous living conditions and health threats like coronavirus. Many smugglers are taking advantage of wall construction to sneak through.
Driver, Alice. “Motherhood on the Line.” Longreads, December 2020. Alice Driver tells the stories of two mothers stuck in Mexico waiting to apply for asylum and one in the U.S. applying after fleeing their home countries and the challenges they face. They are simultaneously combatting the pandemic, more extreme weather due to climate change, and cartel violence while trying to care for their children.
Vasquez, Tina. “Detained and quarantined: 28 asylum-seeking children face deportation and COVID-19.” Prism, December 1, 2020. Twenty-six of twenty-eight children currently awaiting deportation from two detention centers in the U.S. are now in quarantine after being exposed to families who tested positive for COVID-19. The children have been detained with their parents for more than a year. The care in these facilities during the pandemic is often neglectful, and many parents are not getting the legal services they need while in quarantine.
Jones, Zoe Christen. “Cuomo urges feds to protect undocumented immigrants in vaccine rollout.” CBS News, December 1, 2020. Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo and several groups wrote to the Secretary of Health and Human Services asking that the vaccination plan be tailored to properly include undocumented immigrants, BIPOC, and lower-income communities. This would include not sharing the private information of undocumented immigrants outside health agencies, which would deter them from getting the vaccine.
Zerull, Julia. “U of M Establishes Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants Amidst the Pandemic.” Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, December 2, 2020. To better understand and combat the way the pandemic has disproportionately affected immigrant communities, the University of Minnesota opened the National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants (NRC-RIM). The center will work with state and local health departments and organizations to effectively help these communities.
Artiga, Samantha, and Jennifer Kates. “Addressing Racial Equity in Vaccine Distribution.” Kaiser Family Foundation (blog), December 3, 2020. KFF reports on the COVID-19 vaccine developments and the potential problems that might arise in the distribution process and emphasizes that health authorities must prevent “racial disparities in uptake of a COVID-19 vaccine...to mitigate the disproportionate impacts of the virus for people of color and prevent...widening racial health disparities going forward.”
Hawryluk, Markian. “Contact tracing in Colorado immigrant communities is most effective with voices from within.” The Colorado Sun, December 8, 2020. Public health workers in San Miguel County, Colorado, note that as they do contact tracing they notice the hardships that come with being an immigrant during the pandemic. Many immigrants are essential workers with multiple jobs, making tracing complicated. They also did not have much of the COVID-19 information accessible in their languages for quite some time, so nurses have taken up translating.
Martinez, Fidel. “LatinX Files: The COVID-19 vaccine and its importance to our community.” Los Angeles Times, December 10, 2020. Getting the Latinx portion of the U.S. vaccinated may be difficult but important. Already disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, this community has many reasons to not be vaccinated. They range from valid concerns like distrust of the government and fear of the vaccine to not personally being impacted by the pandemic. (Newsletter)
Cohen, Philip. “COVID-19 mortality rates by race/ethnicity and age,” Family Inequality, December 11, 2020. CDC report found that in the age range of 30-49, Black and Hispanic Americans are each 5.6-times and 6.6-times more likely to die than non-Hispanic white Americans. In the over 85 age group, death rates are the highest. (Fact Sheet)
Ewing, Walter. “Your COVID-19 Vaccine Was Likely Made by an Immigrant.” Immigration Impact, December 14, 2020. While the Trump administration has repeatedly attacked immigration and immigrants during the pandemic, the three companies working on vaccines were all created by immigrants. The founders come from Germany and Turkey (BioNTech), Germany (Pfizer), and Canada and Lebanon (Moderna). This should prompt the U.S. to work harder to recognize how the pandemic has affected immigrants and what they have done to help.
Martin, Rachel. “Why Many Latinos Are Wary Of Getting The COVID-19 Vaccine.” Morning Edition. NPR, December 15, 2020. Dr. Eva Galvez, a family physician at Virginia Memorial Health Center in Hillsboro, Oregon, has patients who are mostly first and second-generation Latinos. They discuss how vaccination hesitancy rose in the Latino community after anti-immigrant government policies.
Rose, Joel. “If COVID-19 Vaccines Bring An End To The Pandemic, America Has Immigrants To Thank.” NPR, December 18, 2020. About a third of the biotechnology field in the U.S. employs immigrants, and it is not surprising to see immigrants playing a role in pulling the U.S. out of the pandemic. The first two companies to get their vaccines approved by the FDA are led by immigrants, and the mRNA technology used in both was created by an immigrant.
Mejia, Brittny. “They risk their lives cleaning hospitals. Now, they are getting vaccinated. ‘I want people to know that we exist.’” Los Angeles Times, December 19, 2020. Environmental service workers, those who do cleaning for places like hospitals and are often immigrants, have often had the essential work they have been doing during the pandemic overlooked. But now, their contribution to keeping the country safe is being recognized as they are some of the first in line to get the vaccine.
della Cava, Marco, Daniel Gonzalez, and Rebecca Plevin. “As COVID-19 vaccine rolls out, undocumented immigrants fear deportation after seeking dose.” USA Today, December 19, 2020. Many are hesitant to get vaccinated because they fear releasing personal information necessary for the second dose. While experts do not expect the undocumented Americans to be discriminated against by being denied excess to vaccination, the “years of isolationist and punitive immigration policies from the Trump administration” made many Black, Hispanic, and Asian American communities hard hit by “poverty, preexisting health conditions and front-line jobs” to be reluctant about coming forward to be vaccinated. This demographic includes immigrants, including undocumented workers in farming and meatpacking.
Morrissey, Kate. “Wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of the first person to die from COVID-19 in immigration custody.” The San Diego Union Tribune, December 20, 2020. The family of Carlos Ernesto Escobar Mejia has filed a federal lawsuit against the Otay Mesa Detention Center. Carlos Ernesto Escobar Mejia was the first immigrant to die in the custody of Immigrant and Customs Enforcement from COVID-19. There are now eight immigrants who have died in ICE custody from COVID-19.
Bowden, John. “Surgeon General: Immigration Status Should Not Be Barrier to Receiving COVID-19 Vaccine.” The Hill, December 20, 2020. Surgeon General Jerome Adams encourages undocumented immigrants in the United States to get the COVID-19 vaccine stating that any medical information gathered while receiving the vaccine will not be used against them legally in immigration proceedings. He goes on to say that, “Every person in the country, whether they’re documented or undocumented, should have access to a vaccine...to testing and treatment and hospitalization if it relates to the virus.”
Kashiwagi, Sydney. “Advocates skeptical about ICE providing the COVID-19 vaccine to detainees.” Documented, December 21, 2020. As healthcare workers begin to be vaccinated in New York, officials have not given a definitive answer to when ICE detainees may be able to get the vaccine. Based on the poor way ICE has handled coronavirus in its detention centers so far, activists are skeptical about when, and even if at all, ICE will distribute vaccines.
Whittaker, John. “COVID Vaccine Proposed For Undocumented Immigrants.” The Post-Journal, December 21, 2020. New York City Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal has proposed to the state Assembly that the state of New York cover the cost of COVID-19 vaccines for everyone in the state, even undocumented immigrants and those with temporary legal status.
Jiménez, Soudi. “Defying the Pandemic, Latinos Missing Loved Ones Travel to Their Homelands for the Holiday.” Los Angeles Times, December 24, 2020. The travel disruptions affected Latino households spread across the US, Mexico, Central America, or elsewhere to visit their homelands and "search for closeness." LA Times interviews individuals who were visiting people who have been hospitalized, work in travel industry, and maintain transnational households.
“Montana Adds Tribes, Prisoners to next Phase of Vaccinations.” AP News, December 30, 2020. Unlike national guidelines, Montana will be adding "Native Americans, other people of color and residents of congregate care and corrections facilities in the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan" with health care workers being all vaccinated by mid-January.
Kolata, Gina. “In Minority Communities, Doctors Are Changing Minds About Vaccination.” The New York Times, December 31, 2020. The medical community is realizing the importance of having BIPOC and immigrant doctors and health officials presenting the vaccine information to Black and Hispanic communities. These populations are hesitant to get vaccinated, and many do not trust what the government has to say about the safety of the vaccine. But hearing directly from black and brown medical experts has many changing their minds.
Dooling, Kathleen, Mona Marin, Megan Wallace, Nancy McClung, Mary Chamberland, Grace M. Lee, H. Keipp Talbot, José R. Romero, Beth P. Bell, and Sara E. Oliver. “The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ Updated Interim Recommendation for Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine — United States, December 2020.” MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 69, no. 5152 (January 1, 2021): 1657–1660. Although this is non-binding guidance by a federal advisory panel under CDC, it is notable that the proposed vaccination rollout does note health disparity based on race and class, but nonetheless still excludes any specific plans for incarcerated people, detainees, or immigrant groups.
Alire Garcia, David. “Mexican president offers to vaccinate unlawful migrants in U.S.” Reuters, January 6, 2021. After Nebraska’s governor stated undocumented immigrants working in the state’s meatpacking plants would not be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico said his country would be willing to offer vaccines to those left out.
“Mexico to Ask for Help to Get Vaccines for Migrants in US.” NBC Washington, January 6, 2021. The government of Mexico is trying to secure vaccines in the U.S. for undocumented Mexican migrants, but they are having trouble obtaining them. They are not allowed to transport vaccines across the border, and efforts to work with nonprofits in the U.S. are unsuccessful.
Gonzalez, David. “COVID-19 vaccine open to anyone regardless of legal status.” KHOU, January 12, 2021. In Houston, Texas, receiving a vaccine may require proof of employment as a healthcare worker or being over 65. However, it does not require you to verify your immigration status. This opens up an opportunity to be vaccinated for many immigrants who may be distrusting of the government.
Thomas, Christine M., Michael T. Osterholm, and William M. Stauffer. “Critical Considerations for COVID-19 Vaccination of Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants.” The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 104, no. 2 (January 13, 2021): 433-435. Thomas, Osterholm, and Stauffer examine what needs to be done to vaccinate refugee, immigrant, and migrant communities. They explain that the Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine lays out steps for vaccinating these groups but does not address the unique barriers to implementation. Programs must recognize and understand these barriers and how to overcome them.
Reuters Staff. “Mexico to invoke labor rule to ensure U.S. vaccines for illegal migrants.” Reuters, January 13, 2021. Mexico’s foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard announced that based on the USMCA free trade agreement’s labor provisions, Mexico will require the U.S. to provide coronavirus vaccines to migrants. The exclusion of Mexican workers will be considered as a violation of the treaty.
Foppiano Palacios, Carlo and Mark A. Travassos. “Vaccinating Detained Migrants against SARS-CoV-2 – Preventing Another Tragedy.” The New England Journal of Medicine 384, no. 5 (January 14, 2021). ICE detainee populations have been one of the groups hardest hit by the coronavirus due to their proximity that does not allow for social distancing and lack of adequate medical care. And now, even though they are so high risk, they are being left out of vaccination protocols across the country.
Ruiz-Grossman, Sarah. “Democrats Call For Fast-Tracking Citizenship For Undocumented Essential Workers.” HuffPost Politics, January 15, 2021. Rep. Joaquin Castro and Sen.-designate Alex Padilla are crafting legislation to grant citizenship to an estimated 5 million undocumented essential workers during the pandemic so they are protected from deportation. Many undocumented workers, who have been one of the hardest hit groups, hold jobs that do not allow them to work from home and not grant any paid sick time. (Audio)
Montoya-Galvez, Camilo. “Questions surround COVID-19 vaccine timeline for immigrants in ICE custody.” CBS News, January 18, 2021. As detainees in ICE detention centers contract COVID-19 at a rate roughly thirteen times greater than the rest of the U.S. population, there are still many uncertainties surrounding when they will be able to get vaccinated. ICE has promised to vaccinate all of the immigrants they currently have detained but has provided no details as to when that would happen.
Franceschet, Susan, Jennifer M. Piscopo, and Shannon Ruzycki . “To Overcome Women's Vaccine Skepticism, Take Its Roots Seriously.” The Gender Policy Report, January 19, 2021. The framing of vaccine information must be altered for women, as studies have shown that women in the U.S. are more hesitant to receive the coronavirus vaccine than men, with the unwillingness among women of color being even higher. Reasons for this include the damaging effect the pandemic has had on women’s careers and home-life; the history of misogyny and racism in medicine; and the rise in anti-vaxxer mothers who fear the contents of vaccines.
National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants (NRC-RIM). “Biden’s pandemic response plan includes refugees, immigrants, migrants.” University of Minnesota, January 22, 2021. The Biden administration’s “National Strategy for the Covid-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness” plan has specific information in regard to how the pandemic has disproportionately affected refugee, immigrant, and migrant communities. It addresses the racism and poor conditions and health care access they face and acknowledges their continual work as essential workers while also advocating for testing and vaccines.
Madan, Monique O. and Ana Ceballos. “Florida vaccine residency rule may block access for migrant farmworkers.” Tampa Bay Times, January 22, 2021. At the beginning of the pandemic, farmworkers in Florida had not received the correct PPE needed or enough testing. They are now facing barriers to receive their vaccine. Florida requires all those who receive the vaccine to prove their residency, complicating matters for many undocumented essential workers.
Gonzalez, Valerie. “Texas struggles to draw border around vaccine administration.” My RGV News, January 26, 2021. “Vaccine tourism” is a belief that people are coming from other parts of the country to the U.S. because they can get the vaccine sooner. My RGV News sees the lack of residency requirement in Texas motivates people to come across the U.S.-Mexico border to get their vaccine because it is more available in the U.S. than in Mexico.
Allison, Sherry. “Report: More Than 16,000 Incarcerated Coloradans Have Gotten COVID-19, With 32 Dead.” Colorado Public Radio News, January 28, 2021. Incarcerated people in Colorado, including those held in the Aurora ICE detention facility, are not part of vaccination plans. Over half of all incarcerated people in Colorado have or have had COVID-19 as of the end of January 2021.
Goldberg, Noah. “Feds Begin Vaccinating Inmates at Both New York City Federal Jails.” New York Daily News, January 28, 2021. Public defender organizations wrote a letter that stated, “New York State’s cruel policy of providing vaccines to people held in group settings like shelters and nursing homes but not jails and prisons, and to correctional staff but not incarcerated individuals, is inhumane.” Federal authorities have begun administering the COVID-19 vaccine to inmates and jail staff at New York City’s two federal jails, but do not have enough of the vaccine to vaccinate all inmates.
Gilbert, Julia Char. “The Pandemic Behind Bars: COVID-19, Vaccination, and the People in Colorado’s Prisons and Jails.” Colorado Health Institute, January 28, 2021. Colorado’s incarcerated population, including ICE detainees, was once explicitly mentioned in the vaccine rollout plan. However, they are mentioned nowhere now. According to a CHI analysis, “outbreaks at prisons, jails, and other correctional and detention facilities account for 1 in every 24 cases of COVID-19 in Colorado since the start of the pandemic.” Included in this is the Aurora ICE detention facility. (Slides)
Martinez, Eillen and Zackary Berger. “Blocking Undocumented Immigrants From Vaccination Is Self-Sabotage.” Foreign Policy, January 28, 2021. The authors of this article either currently work or have worked in the medical field with undocumented communities and explain why undocumented people must be a priority in vaccination plans and guidelines for how it should be approached. As the backbone of essential workers, undocumented people are pushing the U.S through this pandemic and have received little assurances for their health in return.
Herman, Christine, and Dana Cronin. “Building Trust Is Key To Ensuring Farmworker Access To COVID Testing, Vaccine.” High Plains Public Radio, January 29, 2021. Testing farmworkers has been difficult during the pandemic for many reasons, including the lack of accessibility and the fear of missing two weeks of pay after testing positive. Experts say that the government must build trust with farmworkers on testing and the vaccine as it becomes available. (Audio)
Malagón, Elvia. “Coronavirus outbreak hits immigration detainees before vaccine eligibility opens for jails in Illinois.” Chicago Sun Times, January 31, 2021. In Illinois, incarcerated individuals are a part of the vaccine rollout, including immigrants detained in ICE facilities. However, many detainees who have been promised a vaccine have become sick with COVID-19 with no specific vaccination date planned.
Fitzsimmons, Emma G. “Black and Latino New Yorkers Trail White Residents in Vaccine Rollout.” The New York Times, January 31, 2021. The demography of vaccinated people in New York City, as well as several other major American cities, reflect how Black and Latino residents in the cities are limited by lack of paid leave and time-consuming reservation process.
Carranza, Rafael. “Homeland Security Urges Undocumented Migrants to Get COVID-19 Vaccine.” Arizona Republic, February 1, 2021. DHS announced that undocumented immigrants in the U.S. should “receive the COVID-19 vaccine once eligible under local distribution guidelines” as crackdowns will not happen around hospitals, health clinics, and other health care facilities. AZ Central notes that this stance drastically differs from the Trump administration’s “public charge” rule and mentions that the pandemic economy had an unfair impact on immigrant workers.
Hansen, Claire. “ICE Won’t Make Immigration Arrests at Coronavirus Vaccination Sites, DHS Says.” US News, February 1, 2021. The Department of Homeland Security has stated that they encourage all people to get vaccinated, including those living in the U.S. that are undocumented. They have promised that ICE and Customs and Border Patrol will not be enforcing immigration status at any kind of vaccination site.
The Editorial Board. “Opinion | How New York’s Vaccine Program Missed Black and Hispanic Residents.” The New York Times, February 2, 2021. Editorial Board notes that even as New York state “still needs significant help from the federal government — millions more vaccine doses, but also money to set up distribution sites, help staff them and other basic infrastructure”, equity matters. If the deaths have disproportionately affected Black and Latino people in the U.S., there is a need to structure vaccination programs around that fact. (Opinion)
CDC. “COVID-19 and Your Health: For Migrants, Refugees, and Other Limited-English-Proficient Populations.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, February 5, 2021. This is a communication toolkit for migrants, refugees, and other limited-English-proficient populations that CDC created in order to show “current messaging from a trusted source; information in plain language available for downloading and sharing; translated materials to help communities disseminate messages to a wider audience.”
Sanchez, Gabriel, and Juan Peña. “Skepticism and Mistrust Challenge COVID Vaccine Uptake for Latinos.” UNM Newsroom, February 6, 2021. Mis-information regarding the COVID vaccine has been prevalent in Latino communities, especially in terms of the potential for adverse long-term health effects as well as side effects. UNM Newsroom also reports that there is historical origin to this distrust, citing “the U.S. involvement in the mass sterilization of Puerto Rican women and Mexican men and women.”
Aptekar, Sofya, and Miriam Ticktin. “Must Immigrants Sacrifice Themselves to COVID-19 for Basic Rights?” openDemocracy, February 6, 2021. The U.S. is being called out by activists for its lack of aid to immigrant communities during the pandemic. For example, France fast-tracked citizenship for immigrants who are classified as essential workers. Aptekar and Tichtin write, “Immigrants are being valued for their ability to take the fall, to get sick so ‘we’ do not.” (Opinion)
Fink, Sheri, and Isadora Kosofsky. “Dying of Covid in a ‘Separate and Unequal’ L.A. Hospital.” The New York Times, February 8, 2021. There are systematic similarities between COVID-19 breakout earlier in 2020 New York and later in California. Focusing on M.L.K. hospital where approximately 80% of deaths were Hispanic, followed by Black residents. The article traces what inequalities exist between hospitals and how the gap in patient numbers, government fundings, personnel, and equipment contributed to the fact that impoverished LA residents in the South are still “dying of the disease at four times the rate of the wealthiest.” It also follows the story of two Latino immigrant fathers and the close relationship between health, class, and immigration status.
Pettypiece, Shannon. “Biden Administration Boosting Vaccine Supply to States, Community Health Centers.” NBC News, February 9, 2021. The Biden administration announced it will be using the Defense Production Act to get Pfizer additional equipment, and federal officials will ship “1 million vaccines directly to 250 community health centers, which serve hard-to-reach groups such as homeless people, migrant workers and public housing residents.” NBC includes a video report covering how this pandemic will increase homelessness 49% in 2021, as well as news covering how POC have lower vaccination rates compared to white people. (Video)
Stolberg, Sheryl Gay. “As Biden Pushes for Racial Equity in Vaccination, Data Is Lagging.” The New York Times, February 9, 2021. Despite the need for racial equity in vaccine rollout plans, measuring results is hard as accurate data on race and ethnicity is not being collected.
Levitt, Daniel, and Randy Yeip. “Which Americans Are Least Willing to Get a Covid-19 Vaccine.” Wall Street Journal, February 10, 2021. Wall Street Journal reports that based on the large-scale national survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, “vaccine hesitancy remains a challenge among Black and young people, those in the South.” Regarding the reasons for vaccine reluctance, WSJ writes that apart from shared concerns about safety concerns, “Whites and Hispanics...are more likely to say others need it more right now.”
Migrant Clinicians Network. COVID Vaccines National Learning Session from the Frontlines of Refugee, Migrant, & Immigrant Health. Feb 11, 2021. This webinar introduces how the year of pandemic affected refugee, immigrant, and migrant communities that the webinar participants are serving in. (Video)
Armus, Teo. “Among Latino immigrants, false vaccine claims are spreading as fast as the virus.” The Washington Post, February 11, 2021. There has been a surge of misinformation among Latino immigrant communities as the vaccine becomes more readily available. The scarcity of correct information stems from problems such as miseducation, distrust of the government, and a lack of accessible resources. Advocates and state and local governments are working on ways to make information more accessible to immigrants and build trust in the vaccine.
McCray, Rebecca. “Giving Vaccines to Prisoners Won’t Be Enough to Get Prisoners Vaccinated.” Curbed, February 12, 2021. The trust gap in correctional facilities has affected COVID-19 vaccination rollout, based on the substandard health services and medical support; limited information detainees have access to; cases of prison officials refusing vaccination themselves has built a system of distrust. Curbed also analyzes race-based health inequity issues in places that are particularly deadly to Black people, quoting its interviews with jailhouse lawyers and advocates.
Gross, Daniel A., Nicole Einbinder, and Angela Wang. “ICE Has No Plan to Vaccinate 13,860 Immigrants in Its Custody against COVID-19. Here’s How One of the US’s Most at-Risk Groups Is Falling through the Cracks.” Business Insider, February 12, 2021. Despite an expert opinion that detainees should be one of the earliest groups to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, ICE does not plan to vaccinate detainees. In terms of inequity, Insider notes that “the US disproportionately incarcerates many populations that face a higher risk of dying from the disease, including people of color and people with underlying conditions such as hypertension and diabetes.”
Hernandez, Maribel, and Reyna Alvarez. “Migrant Workers: When We Caught COVID on the Job, We Went from Essential to Expendable.” USA Today, February 12, 2021. Hernandez and Alvarez, who has worked at a crawfish plant on H-2B visas during the COVID-19 pandemic, writes that “We decided to go to the hospital rather than stay at our facility. For that, we were fired and reported to immigration authorities.” The Spanish-speaking migrant workers under the H-2B visa program have faced “outrageous” experiences in the past and feel injustice at the continuing lack of clarity regarding labor conditions and vaccine programs. (Opinion)
Sheridan, Erin. “Advocates Call for Vaccinating Inmates to Stem COVID-19 Spread.” Idaho Press, February 13, 2021. Inmates in Idaho’s jails and prisons are at a high risk of coming into contact with COVID-19 but have yet to be categorized as a group for priority vaccination. This is concerning considering the racial justice aspect. ACLU advocate states that “Black and Latinx people are disproportionately incarcerated in jails and prisons in Idaho and are also disproportionately affected by COVID-19.”
National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants. “New Study Shows Disproportionate Impact of COVID on Immigrants, Migrants.” February 16, 2021. A Chicanos Por La Causa (CPLC) study on health disparities in Southern Arizona shows four factors in particular (access to technology, housing instability, economic hardship, and lack of social services) contribute to the severity of the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic experience for im/migrant and refugee populations.
Lin, Rong-Gong II, and Luke Money. “Even as COVID-19 Declines, L.A. Latinos See Disproportionate Devastation.” Los Angeles Times, February 16, 2021. News coverage showing that the average COVID-19 death rate among Latinos in L.A. County peaked in mid-January at a daily rate of 48 deaths per 100,000 Latino residents, three times worse than the rate for white residents.
Hussain, Suhauna. “Who's 'Essential'? COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Leaves High-Risk Workers Behind.” Los Angeles Times, February 17, 2021. While grocery stores employees and food plant workers have been deemed as essential and able to receive COVID-19 vaccines, other high risk and essential workers like construction, garment, and transportation workers are unable to receive vaccinations due to states’ age-based distribution plans. This deprioritization of vaccinating workplaces where COVID-19 exposure is severe has left marginalized populations who make up a large proportion of the population in these occupations at an unequal risk to COVID-19.
MCN Administration. “Health Department and Vaccine Clinic Considerations to Reach Migrant and Immigrant Workers: A COVID-19 Vaccine Accessibility Checklist.” Migrant Clinicians Network, February 18, 2021. The refugee, immigrant, and migrant (RIM) communities are hard to reach, but they make up large portion of essential workers. MCN notes that accessibility to vaccines is limited by “challenges, including language, transportation, fear of due to immigration status”.
Gonsalves, Gregg, Amy Kapczynski, and David Herman. “We'll Never Reach Herd Immunity If We Don't Vaccinate More Non-White People.” The Washington Post. February 26, 2021. White population in each state is at least 2-3 times more vaccinated. This makes obtaining herd immunity difficult, especially when states are not doing little to cross barriers to healthcare access that marginalized communities have had to overcome. Gonsalves, Kapczynski, and Herman present strategies to reach herd immunity, including changing the vaccine registration system, expanding shots at community health centers rather than chain pharmacies, funding local clinics, and setting distribution sites in “pharmacy deserts.” (Opinion)
Cahan, Eli M. “America's Immigration System Is a COVID Superspreader.” Scientific American, February 26, 2021. In immigration detention centers, around 10% of detainees have tested positive for COVID-19, which is 17% higher when compared to the general population. Treatment of the detainees has also come under scrutiny since better living conditions and releasing people with health problems would have allowed for less spread of COVID-19.
Domecq, Juan Pablo, Amos Lal, Christopher R. Sheldrick, Vishakha K. Kumar, Karen Boman, Scott Bolesta, Vikas Bansal, et al. “Outcomes of Patients With Coronavirus Disease 2019 Receiving Organ Support Therapies: The International Viral Infection and Respiratory Illness Universal Study Registry.” Critical Care Medicine 49, no. 3 (March 2021): 437–48. This study of 168 hospitals shows that about half of Covid patients on ventilators died, and survival varied widely among hospitals. It states that while prognosis varied by age and level of organ support, “interhospital variation in mortality of mechanically ventilated patients was not explained by patient characteristics and requires further evaluation.”
Jordan, Miriam. “Thousands of Farmworkers Are Prioritized for the Coronavirus Vaccine.” The New York Times, March 1, 2021. In California, there is a “landmark initiative” that expands vaccine rollouts in the fields so that the immigrant workforce, including many undocumented workers, can have easier access.
Major, Derek. “More than 100 Civil Right Groups Call For COVID Vaccine To Be Equitable and Accessible For All.” Black Enterprise, March 1, 2021. More than 100 civil rights organizations that represent various religious groups and BIPOC leaders, AIDS and disability rights advocates, migrants, and more, have called for vaccine distribution to be equitable.
Lee, Jennifer, and Tiffany Huang. “Re-Imagining Safety, Belonging, and Justice in the Wake of Anti-Asian Violence.” Brookings, March 2, 2021. Brookings reports on the sudden attention the U.S. media outlets have in regards to acts of violence and xenophobia against the Asian-American community, but points out that this has been happening since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The article discusses the impact that xenophobia rhetoric by the previous administration and lack of action by the present one has had in perpetuating a culture that scapegoats Asian-Americans for the Covid-19 pandemic.
Myers, Jessica. “San Diego Prison: ACLU Files Lawsuit to Release or Vaccinate San Diego County Inmates after Latest Covid-19 Outbreak.” CNN, March 3, 2021. American Civil Liberties Union files a class action lawsuit against San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore for not following Covid-19 protocols when it comes to incarcerated people. CNN covers multiple cases of breakouts in prisons and quotes the ACLU’s argument that the cost of vaccination is likely to be lower than the treatment cost associated with mass breakouts.
Arellano, Gustavo. “Column: The Ghosts of Migrant Dead Haunt California. Let’s Honor Them.” Los Angeles Times, March 7, 2021. Hispanic migrant workers’ death in the U.S. has been rising in the U.S. for centuries. (Opinion)
Smith, Erika D. “Column: ‘It Feels like a Second-Class Shot.’ Johnson & Johnson’s Vaccine Equity Problem.” Los Angeles Times, March 10, 2021. The columnist notes an existing narrative that Johnson & Johnson vaccine is “somehow second-class” and asks public health officials to do more than just saying “all the vaccines are the same — not after public health officials spent months touting the north-of-90% efficacy ratings for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines as a way to persuade hesitant Americans.” (Opinion)
Kelley, Alexandra. “1 in 4 Americans Refuse to Get COVID-19 Vaccine: Poll.” The Hill, March 10, 2021. This article is a counterexample to the stereotype that POC groups are unwilling to get the vaccine. Additionally, more white Americans are reluctant to get the vaccine than Americans of color. (video)
Cochrane, Emily. “House Gives Final Approval to Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Pandemic Relief Bill.” The New York Times, March 10, 2021. Regarding the 1.9 trillion dollars stimulus package, the Times reports that Democrats “fast-tracked their own measure through the House and Senate without pausing to court Republican support.”
Weber, Christopher, and Kathleen Ronayne. “California Leaders Look to Reopening, Push 1-Shot Vaccine.” AP News, March 11, 2021. AP reports on the new tiers of Californians that can access vaccines, including those “who work in or reside in congregant places, such as detention centers, jails and homeless shelters, will also be newly eligible, as will public transit workers and airport workers for commercial airlines”. It also voices concerns on the speed of lifting restrictions on gathering.
Critchfield, Hannah. “Waiting for the COVID-19 Vaccine in Jail.” North Carolina Health News, March 12, 2021. Regarding the jail detainees in Cherokee Indian land, NCHN reports that “While there is one inmate over the age of 65...this individual was not scheduled to receive a vaccine until the rest of the people incarcerated in the jail became eligible in Group 4.” Regarding ICE detainees, they “won’t receive it without sign-off from the federal agency” and “it is up to their administration to give permission for them to be vaccinated.”
Sacchetti, Maria. “ICE Has No Clear Plan for Vaccinating Thousands of Detained Immigrants Fighting Deportation.” Washington Post, March 12, 2021. ICE does not have plans for vaccinating immigrants in its custody, although COVID-19 cases have been high in ICE facilities. The Washington Post compares the Bureau of Prisons, which ships vaccines directly from manufacturers, and ICE, which relies “on state and local health departments to procure vaccine doses” without any data on the number of vaccinated detainees.
Cline, Sara, and Gillian Flaccus. “Under New Program, Some Oregon Centers Can Vaccinate Anyone.” AP News, March 12, 2021. Known for its vaccination priority groups that differed from national trends, such as placing teachers ahead of oldest residents, Oregon is beginning a pilot program at a few federally qualified health centers to offer shots to anyone. Considering how seasonal and migrant farmworkers did not have access to vaccination in Oregon and Washington despite living and working in high-risk conditions, this pilot program might help bridge the gap.
Nunez-Smith, Marcella. Transcript: Marcella Nunez-Smith on “Face the Nation,” March 14, 2021. Interview by Margaret Brennan. Video, March 14, 2021. Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, chair of the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, and Margaret Brennan discuss the at-risk communities near the U.S.-Mexico border and note that the governor of Texas’s claim that “undocumented migrants who are crossing into his state are spreading the virus” lack evidence. They also note that “CDC has reported that race and ethnicity is only available to them for about 53% of all the people who've been vaccinated.” (video)
Galindo, Ramon. “San Diego Nurses Push to Get Black and Latino Residents Vaccinated.” NBC 7 San Diego, March 14, 2021. San Diego Black Nurses Association partnered with a local Baptist church and opened a day-long vaccination clinic to reach out to Black and Latino community members and dispel vaccine hesitancy. The senior pastor commented that it helped his congregation that “hearing our African American doctors talk to us” helped. (video)
Hardy, Benjamin. “COVID Vaccinations Lag in Minority Communities, State Data Shows.” Southwest Times Record, March 15, 2021. Arkansas Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccine administration data shows that Black, Latino, and Marshallese people in Arkansas are disproportionately less vaccinated. While this demographic data was only published in early March, behind other U.S. states, and remains incomplete, they still reflect the national trend. Arkansas United, an immigrant advocacy organization, says that increased funding for assistance with the signup process on top of the existing Spanish language option in the hotline is necessary.
Weber, Paul, and Nomaan Merchant. “No Evidence Migrants at Border Significantly Spreading Virus.” AP News, March 10, 2021. AP provides a critique of the xenophobic linkage between COVID-19 spread and migrants.
Gillman, Todd. “As Abbott Hits Biden for Releasing Migrants with COVID, White House Asks Why Texas Rejects Funds to Test Them.” Dallas News, March 11, 2021. The Texas governor argues that releasing sick migrants into the Texas public is causing the COVID-19 crisis, while the Biden administration believes it is the governor’s fault for blocking federal funds that would increase COVID-19 tests. Dallas News quotes Gov. Abbott’s previous interview on a conservative talk show KTRH-AM, who said he is “challenged with the influx of people coming in from the border who could be increasing the spread of COVID-19. The Biden administration must stop this illegal immigration program they’ve opened.”
Turnure, Jessi. “U.S. Health Experts: Vaccine Hesitancy Remains Biggest Hurdle in Race against Variants.” ABC27, March 18, 2021. Health experts and lawmakers address vaccine hesitancy, with some Republican senators noting that Republicans in rural areas are the group with greatest hesitancy and should be included in the special outreach program. Other GOP lawmakers focus only on migrants at the border, codifying them as diseased individuals.
Murphy, Matt. “Mass. to Fully Open Vaccine Eligibility April 19.” WWLP, March 18, 2021. In MA, all residents age 16 and older can book COVID-19 vaccination appointments by April 19. Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders announced that MA received a $27.4 million grant from CDC to improve equity, and that “the final $3 million will be deployed to qualified organizations positioned to help vaccinate the homeless, migrant farmers, undocumented immigrants and the LGBTQ community.”
Gruver, Tim. “Oregon Eyes Insuring the Undocumented as Pandemic Exposes Racial Gaps in Health Care.” The Center Square, March 18, 2021. To address race-based health equity issue, Oregon is working on two pieces of legislation: HB 2164 and 3352. Data from Oregon Health Authority shows that 94 percent of Oregonians were insured in 2019, but that still leaves out 248,000 people and “15% of Hispanics and Latinos remained uninsured, the highest of any racial minority group.”
McCann, Allison, and Lazaro Gamio. “Who Can and Can’t Get Vaccinated Right Now.” The New York Times, March 19, 2021. This interactive article discusses the global equity issue, noting the different bars for announcing vaccines safe, different prioritization, and vaccine supplies. It heavily criticizes the fact that 67 countries have no vaccination, and that “Covax was undermined by rich nations by securing deals directly with pharmaceutical companies.”
Bohra, Neelam. “Language Barriers, Technology Hurdles and Limited Transportation Hurt Asian American Texans’ Access to Vaccines.” The Texas Tribune, March 19, 2021. This is an in-depth article that focuses on Asian American elders in Texas and the rise in the anti-Asian atmosphere. Texas Tribune also brings forward the Pew Research Center study and notes that Asian American community is the most economically divided group in the U.S., the larger lump data often erases “first or second generation immigrants with blue collar jobs who have been forced to work through the pandemic.”
Blythe, Anne. “Coronavirus Today - March 25.” North Carolina Health News, March 25, 2021. North Carolina’s vaccination program is expanding to include essential workers to close the equity gap, especially for historically marginalized populations such as “children not yet in school, the Hispanic and Latino communities, indigenous populations, Black residents and migrant workers and their families.” (infographic)
Holden, Linsey, and Cassandra Garibay. “Latinos in SLO County Are Twice as Likely to Get COVID as Other Ethnic Groups. Here’s Why.” San Luis Obispo Tribune, March 26, 2021. Latino, indigenous migrant, and Black communities in San Luis Obispo County are disproportionately affected by Covid-19. The article quotes a study done by UCLA Health Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture (CESLAC), noting how having hard work and larger families make them vulnerable. (Video)
Fitzpatrick, Lisa K., and Michelle McMurry-Heath. “Opinion | How We Can Show Hesitant Black D.C. Residents That Coronavirus Vaccines Are Safe and Effective.” Washington Post, March 26, 2021. Black DC residents are affected by a higher rate of death. Chief executives of health organizations point out that “Black Americans are dying at nearly twice the rate of white Americans from the coronavirus. In the nation’s capital, about 75 percent of coronavirus deaths are among Black Americans—despite making up less than half of the population. So, it’s particularly troubling that 44 percent of Black D.C. residents say they won’t get vaccinated.” (Opinion)
Arnold, Jess. “Leaders Set up COVID Mobile Vaccination Clinic for Black, Brown Communities in DC.” WUSA, March 26, 2021. Vaccine equity issues in Washington DC shows the importance of working with Black and Brown communities to implement neighborhood/community level distribution partnership. WUSA interviewed Howard University doctors, who stated: “Many people said they weren’t able to get the appointments until someone advocated for them. … I do know that those communities of color, there are many people who are interested in being vaccinated. And so we need to go to them.” (video)
“Some in Miami’s Black Community Still Hesitant Over COVID-19 Vaccine.” NBC 6 South Florida, March 26, 2021. Community leaders, religious leaders, and doctors discuss the black community’s relationship with vaccination programs. It quotes the Tuskegee Syphilis Study as the origin of hesitancy, and the interviewee states they need to “make sure we are not sabotaging ourselves.” (video)
Laura Strickler, and Jonathan Allen. “Vaccine Data Suggests Biden Equity Goal Remains Elusive.” NBC News, March 26, 2021. The demographic information that is relevant to equitable vaccination is not being fully tracked. Federal officials announced “60 percent of the 1.7 million doses of vaccine injected at federal centers” was provided to people of color, but the federal government only gets that for “about 78.1 percent of the doses that [federal government] provide.” That means data does not exist for “more than 100 million doses administered through pharmacies or state and local governments.”
Hossaini, Sara. “Indigenous-Language Radio Show In Oakland Promotes Vaccine Effort.” NPR, March 27, 2021. Using “Radio B’alam”, a name derived from Mam people’s history, Mayan Guatemalans in the Bay Area receive public health information through local radio news in Mam language. NPR writes how language capacity “made it harder to access public health information” with “county public health officials acknowledg[ing] that a successful COVID-19 response hinges on familiar voices, like those at Radio B'alam.” (podcast)
Mabie, Nora. “Montana Tribes Having Success Distributing COVID-19 Vaccines.” AP News, March 27, 2021. Montana’s Native American tribes have “incentives, a centralized health care system and personalized outreach efforts” to encourage vaccination and in the case of Blackfeet Nation, over 95% of the eligible population are vaccinated. Many tribal health clinics started vaccinating non-Natives. AP quotes tribal leaders such as Frank White Clay, who see “the devastation from COVID-19”—61 community members dying of COVID-19 in the Crow Tribe—having impacted vaccine rollout.
Adelson, Jeff. “COVID Vaccine Disparity in New Orleans: Why Inoculations Are Lagging in Poor, Black Neighborhoods.” NOLA, March 27, 2021. The data on vaccine disparity in New Orleans has a similar pattern to poverty and health, which means “neighborhoods that are poorer and Blacker” are lagging compared to “the most affluent areas...getting shots at rates well above the norm.” NOLA covers disparity issues by focusing on the difficulty in terms of accessibility, discussing “areas with high social vulnerability, least access to transportation, a workforce that couldn’t take off to get tested” and limited internet access.
Lord, Shaquille. “UofL Black Health Professionals Encourage Russell Area Residents Ahead of Vaccination Clinic.” WLKY, March 27, 2021. WLKY reports that “University of Louisville doctors and health professionals walked the streets of the Russell area” to reach out directly regarding the vaccination clinic at Kentucky Center for African American Heritage. (video)
Walker, Amy Schoenfeld, Lauren Leatherby, and Yuriria Avila. “What’s Behind the Hispanic Vaccination Gap?” The New York Times, March 29, 2021. The Times provides in-depth research on the vaccination gap that affects Hispanic communities. Along with other structural barriers to vaccination that other BIPOC communities face, Hispanic communities also have extremely “limited access to the digital tools needed to secure an appointment”, “information about vaccine eligibility and registration”, and “cost barriers to pursuing health care” that prevent them from having existing trusted health care provider in the first place.
Seda, Claire Hutkins. “Health Misinformation: Preparing for the COVID-19 Vaccine.” Migrant Clinicians Network, March 30, 2021. According to MCN, “Clinicians serving agricultural workers and other vulnerable populations can improve the health and well-being of their communities by equipping patients with basic media literacy tools to identify and debunk alarming health messages that may be incorrect.” Considering the amount of false health information, clinicians must also remember that they need community’s trust for any kind of effective vaccine rollouts.
Broyles, Emrey. “Racial Healthcare Disparities Go Unaddressed in Vaccine Rollout.” The Tulane Hullabaloo, March 31, 2021. Tulane Hullabaloo reports that distribution of the vaccines for COVID-19 reflect “health inequities exist from systemic racism and prejudice against people of color” and calls for reparations through “resources and healthcare such that if another pandemic were to happen, marginalized communities would not face greater harm than others,” (image on cases of COVID-19)
National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants (NRC-RIM). “Referral Systems for Vaccine Access,” March 2021. This page includes a list of community partners who service refugee, immigrant, and migrant communities and can support them throughout the quarantine or help them access COVID-19 vaccines.
Maycock, Khalil. “Latino Leaders Discuss Ways to Close Vaccination Gap in Their Community.” We Are Iowa, April 5, 2021. Kaiser Family Foundation finds that “only 2% of the state's Hispanic population has been vaccinated”, perhaps due to the lack of trust in the safety and efficacy of vaccines. Joe Henry, the state political director for League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa, believes that “state and local government agencies should be the ones spreading the importance of vaccines...because not everybody has access to the technology to make appointments or transportation to sites that are not within walking distance.” (Video)
Koweek, Molly. “Miami Valley black medical professionals urge communities of color to get vaccinated.” WHIO, April 5, 2021. The article discusses vaccine hesitancy and equity, with a higher percentage of white people vaccinated than black people.
Spencer, Christian. “SNL Slammed for Stereotyping Black Americans and Vaccine Hesitancy.” The Hill, April 5, 2021. SNL skit stereotyped vaccine hesitancy in Black communities, and healthcare workers criticize such caricatures.
Severance, Christin. “Vaccine Hesitancy: Who Is Refusing the Shot and Why?” KGW, April 5, 2021. KGW reports on the Delphi Group of Carnegie Mellon University, which surveys people every day on vaccination status and plans. This is the largest COVID-related survey, and according to data, “77% of people polled are either vaccinated or plan to be, while 23% of people remain vaccine-hesitant.” The study emphasizes that the percentage of “vaccine-hesitant Black adults dropped from 40% to 29%, with 81% concerned about side effects.” (Video)
Rushovich, Tamara, Marion Boulicault, Jarvis T. Chen, Ann Caroline Danielsen, Amelia Tarrant, Sarah S. Richardson, and Heather Shattuck-Heidorn. “Sex Disparities in COVID-19 Mortality Vary Across US Racial Groups.” Journal of General Internal Medicine, April 5, 2021. This study reports that “within race groups, men have a higher COVID-19 mortality rate than women.” However, the data collected across racial groups in Michigan shows that “the COVID-19 mortality rate for Black women (147.1, 95% CI: 138.7–155.4) is higher than the rate for white men (39.1, 95% CI: 37.3–40.9), white women (29.7, 95% CI: 28.3–31.0), and Asian/Pacific Islander men and women.”
Cropley, John. “As COVID vaccine eligibility opens to all, another push for all to get it.” The Daily Gazette, April 5, 2021. Regarding the vaccine equity in New York, the article highlights that the new “push is aimed directly at Black and brown New Yorkers, who are getting vaccinated at lower rates than their white and Asian neighbors.”
Gonzalez, Carolina. “Black Women’s Risk of Covid Death Exceeds White Men’s in Study - Bloomberg.” Bloomberg, April 6, 2021. The article reports a study by Rushovich et al. that analyzes the U.S. COVID-19 death rates by gender and race, and notes that Black American women have higher risk of dying from Covid-19 than most non-Black men. Black men are most vulnerable out of all groups, with “death rate more than six times greater than that of white men.” The article also highlights the demographic vaccination tracker. One of the authors interviewed said that the “pattern of vaccines is following the path of access to health care, mobility and resources to get oneself to a vaccine and those are the same patterns that created greater vulnerability to being exposed to the virus in the earlier phase.”
Valentine, Brittany. “The 26-Year-Old Latina Finding COVID Vaccines for Her Rio Grande Valley Community.” AL DÍA News, April 6, 2021. AL DÍA News reports on Selina Herrera, a 26-year-old Latina Texas resident. She has “single handedly helped more than 600 people receive COVID-19 vaccines in the Rio Grande Valley area. ... On a daily basis, Herrera does this volunteer work during her lunch hour or in the evening after her full-time job, which involves providing assessment for case workers that work with clients enrolled in programs like SNAP or Medicaid.”
Tahir, Darius, and Mohana Ravindranath. “How the Vaccine Campaign Overlooks Asian Americans.” Politico, April 7, 2021. Politico assesses that the “vaccine rollout has been riddled with data gaps from the outset, especially when it comes to patients’ race and ethnicity. And those gaps could weigh especially heavily on people of Asian descent, whose struggles with racism, violent attacks and health disparities are only now getting belated attention.”
Choi, Hojun. “Facing Hurdles for COVID-19 Vaccinations, Austin’s Vietnamese Community Looks for Own Solutions.” Austin American-Statesman, April 7, 2021. Austin’s Vietnamese American organizations are helping vulnerable groups within their communities after being “fed up with the difficulties in getting access to COVID-19 vaccinations.”
Ivory, Danielle, Lauren Leatherby, and Robert Gebeloff. “Least Vaccinated U.S. Counties Have Something in Common: Trump Voters.” The New York Times, April 17, 2021. The Times reports, “The relationship between vaccination and politics reflects demographics. Vaccine hesitancy is highest in counties that are rural and have lower income levels and college graduation rates... In wealthier Trump-supporting counties with higher college graduation rates, the vaccination gap is smaller...but the partisan gap holds even after accounting for income, race and age demographics, population density and a county’s infection and death rate.”
Correal, Annie, and Luis Ferré-Sadurní. “$2.1 Billion for Undocumented Workers Signals New York’s Progressive Shift.” The New York Times, April 8, 2021. New York legislators created a fund to support undocumented residents who did not qualify for federal stimulus checks and other benefits, which is significantly larger than California’s own $75 million cash assistance program back in 2021, which only gave $500 support on a first-come, first-served basis. Groups like Fund Excluded Workers note that “they plan to make sure that excluded workers who survive on a patchwork of jobs or are paid in cash or under the table and cannot easily provide proof of employment will not be left out.”
Johnson, Akilah. “For Immigrants, IDs Prove to Be a Barrier to a Dose of Protection.” Washington Post, April 10, 2021. States have different guidelines about identification documents and residency requirements for Covid-19 vaccines, and this is a significant source of confusion for undocumented im/migrants. (video)
Mizan, Nusaiba. “Green Bay’s Somali Muslim Community Encouraged to Get COVID-19 Vaccine before Ramadan Fasting.” Green Bay Press-Gazette, April 12, 2021. In Wisconsin, Said Hassan, co-founder of Community Services Agency, or COMSA, a nonprofit serving Somali and other immigrant and refugee communities in northeast Wisconsin, “requested the Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccine for the event so recipients can be protected in two weeks and ahead of Eid al-Fitr in mid-May, which marks the end of Ramadan.”
Hagen, C. S., and Michelle Griffith. “COVID-19 Vaccination Rate for Black North Dakotans Well below Other Groups.” Grand Forks Herald, April 18, 2021. Fargo church pastor comments on the lack of state government’s outreach efforts in vulnerable communities. She notes that “people tell her they are worried that they’ll be stuck with random needles, or have suspicions about the vaccine because of the unethical Tuskegee syphilis study done by the U.S. government between 1932 and 1972.” Muslim leaders in Fargo-Moorhead Muslim communities note that “misinformation has also been rampant”, with a few local Asian immigrant communities beginning to sign up for vaccination. (infogram)
Manian, Maya, and Seema Mohapatra. “States Must Factor Race In COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritization.” Law360, April 18, 2021. Researchers who built different social vulnerability indexes argue that in a public health context, most state governments “are not using vulnerability indexes at all in vaccine prioritization.” Also, with no Supreme Court decision on “government use of racial classifications to ameliorate systemic health disparities”, public health programs are continuing in an adversely colorblind fashion.
Anderson, Barbara. “See Need, Address Need. How UCSF Fresno’s COVID Equity Project Is Trying to Spread the Health.” The Fresno Bee, April 18, 2021. This article discusses how a university, community organizations, and the city government can collaborate to expand health equity. It includes an interview with UCSF Fresno dean, who quotes studies that show appointment-based systems have tendency to be dominated by “upper-income, Caucasian, non-minority patients who could navigate the system and had transportation and could arrange the time for an appointment” and therefore walk-in systems are necessary during community outreach. Faith-based NPOs serving primarily refugees also provided “services at no cost to patients, including people with Medi-Cal and uninsured.” (video)
Hilliard, John. “As Mass. Expands Vaccine Eligibility, Experts and Advocates Urge Greater Equity in Distributing Doses.” The Boston Globe, April 18, 2021. BG reports, “With appointments open to 1.7 million more residents, the [MA] state will reserve 20,000 appointments for communities of color for a week, starting Monday, at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center mass-vaccination site, according to Governor Charlie Baker. A recent analysis found that Black and Latino communities have some of the lowest inoculation rates in the state.”
Masters, Kate. “Virginia’s Mass Vaccination Sites for ‘vulnerable’ Communities Are Faltering. Why Is There Still a Gulf in Vaccine Rates?” Virginia Mercury, April 19, 2021. Apart from covering potential causes of vaccine inequity such as scheduling, registering for appointment, and getting access outside districts, and having internet literacy, Virginia Mercury also notes major gaps in in state reporting practices on demography. It states, “areas with significant or majority Black and Latino populations...have been touted by leaders as a core strategy in expanding access to vaccines among communities of color, where immunization rates are consistently lower than they are for White Virginians. … But data from the clinics, provided to the Mercury by the Virginia Department of Health and Federal Emergency Management Agency, show participation at the sites has been mixed — and in some cases is declining — despite a steady flow of doses.”
National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants (NRC-RIM). “Vaccines Are Available Regardless of Valid ID, Immigration Status or Insurance,” April 23, 2021. This is an explanatory page regarding the relationship between vaccination campaigns and ID, immigration status, or health insurance status. NRCRIM emphasizes that vaccine providers to remembers: “people without an ID should still receive vaccines”; “patients do not need to have health insurance”; and that “everyone can receive a COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of their immigration status.”
González, Marlon, and Zeke Miller. “As US Moves from Scarcity to Abundance of COVID-19 Vaccine, Other Nations Are Calling for Help.” AP News, April 24, 2021. There is currently an overabundance of vaccines in the U.S., with more than 25% of the population fully vaccinated. There is an increasing call for the U.S. to send those vaccinations to poorer countries. AP also notes how vaccines have become a diplomacy and security tool, noting “The lack of U.S. vaccine assistance around the world has created an opportunity for China and Russia, which have promised millions of doses of domestically produced shots to other countries, though there have been production delays that have hampered the delivery of some supplies.”
Zard, Monette, Ling San Lau, Diana M. Bowser, Fouad M. Fouad, Diego I. Lucumí, Goleen Samari, Arturo Harker, et al. “Leave No One behind: Ensuring Access to COVID-19 Vaccines for Refugee and Displaced Populations.” Nature Medicine 27, no. 5 (May 2021): 747–49. Because COVID-19 vaccines are still scarce resources in a world where low-income countries have access to 0.1% of vaccines, refugees and displaced populations will need assistance in getting equitable access to them. The research states, “Issues of cost (both direct healthcare costs and additional out-of-pocket costs associated with seeking care), discrimination and stigma, as well as distrust of authorities and fears related to disclosure of immigration status, may deter displaced persons from seeking vaccination, even when they are eligible.”
Nguyen, Dillon. “COVID-19 From the Perspective of a Community Health Worker: Veronica Martinez Vargas.” Migrant Clinicians Network. May 27, 2021. Community health workers such as Veronica Martinez Vargas, who herself is an immigrant without documentation, are assisting Latinx communities in accessing the vaccines. Nguyen reports that although “COVID-19 has made it challenging to do traditional outreach such as one-on-one engagement and going to people’s homes”, community health workers are still having meaningful conversations on community health.
Garcia, Erika, Sandrah P. Eckel, Zhanghua Chen, Kenan Li, and Frank D. Gilliland. “COVID-19 Mortality in California Based on Death Certificates: Disproportionate Impacts across Racial/Ethnic Groups and Nativity.” Annals of Epidemiology 58 (June 1, 2021): 69–75. Studying the 10,200 COVID-19 deaths in California between February 1 and July 31, 2020 shows that “the most frequently observed characteristics among decedents were age 65 years or above, male, Hispanic, foreign-born, and educational attainment of High School or below. MRR indicated elevated COVID-19 mortality rates among Asian/Pacific Islander, Black, and Hispanic groups compared with the White group, with Black and Hispanic groups having the highest.”
Thomas, Christine M., Amy K. Liebman, Alma Galván, Jonathan D. Kirsch, and William M. Stauffer. “Ensuring COVID-19 Vaccines for Migrant and Immigrant Farmworkers.” The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 104, no. 6 (June 2, 2021): 1963–65. Regarding the COVID-19 vaccination, this research emphasizes the status of farmworkers as essential workers and the issues that have arisen regarding who needs to be prioritized. The paper states that “a successful vaccination campaign [needs] to address the unique challenges arising from this workforce’s inherently mobile nature and limited access to healthcare.”