Surgeon general: Immigration status should not be barrier to receiving COVID-19 vaccine

Surgeon general: Immigration status should not be barrier to receiving COVID-19 vaccine
© Greg Nash

Surgeon General Jerome AdamsJerome AdamsThe Hill's Morning Report - Surging COVID-19 infections loom over US, Olympics Surgeon general defends CDC lifting mask mandate Former surgeon general says CDC guidance on masks 'premature' and 'wrong' MORE encouraged undocumented immigrants across the U.S. to get vaccinated for COVID-19 when shots become available, saying during an interview on Sunday that it is a public health priority to see as many people vaccinated as possible.

Speaking on CBS's "Face the Nation," the nation's top doctor said that a person's immigration status should not serve as a barrier between them and a COVID-19 vaccine.

"No one should be denied a shot in the arm due to their documentation status," said Adams.

He went on to note that he had been assured by federal officials that medical information gathered during the course of administering a COVID-19 vaccine "will not be used in any way shape or form to hurt you legally," and could not be used in immigration proceedings against those who participate.

His remarks appear to be in line with the view shared by President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden authorizes up to 0M for Afghan refugees Poll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Biden flexes presidential muscle on campaign trail with Virginia's McAuliffe MORE, who said in August that undocumented immigrants should have free access to both the vaccine and COVID-19 testing.

“Every person in the country, whether they’re documented or undocumented, should have access to a vaccine, if and when it occurs, should have access to testing and treatment and hospitalization if it relates to the virus," he told reporters at the time, adding: "And that should occur, period. It’s in the interest of everyone that everyone be taken care of, and everyone should be able to be eligible for that.”

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have urged states to vaccinate front-line health care workers and people in high-risk categories first; the general U.S. population is expected to see widespread access to the vaccine in the spring.