Undocumented workers hesitant to get COVID-19 vaccines, fear deportation: advocates

METRO PLUS

Many feared dead as explosion rocks Benue community [PHOTOS]

Scores have been reportedly killed in a fuel tanker explosion at the Amoke village of Apa Local Government Area in Benue State.

Osun: One dead, children, others injured as masquerades attack Muslims

At least, one person has been confirmed dead while about 12 persons, including children sustained gunshot injuries in a clash that ensued...

4 confirmed dead after car hit six pedestrians in Yola

Four pedestrians have been confirmed dead and two others injured after a car hit them around the Adamawa State capital, Yola.

Two rescued, 12 abducted in Kaduna community

Kaduna Police Command has rescued two persons, while 12 others were abducted by bandits in Kachia local government area of Kaduna State.

Man sets in-law’s house ablaze in Jigawa

A 40-year-old man, Ibrahim Musa has set his in-law’s house ablaze at Kuzoyara village, Birniwa local Government area of Jigawa State.

Undocumented workers in Canada fear that getting vaccinated could mean being arrested if someone reports them to police or immigration authorities because of their lack of proper identification, say advocates.

Karen Cocq of the Toronto-based Migrant Workers Alliance for Change said undocumented and migrant workers should not be required to provide identification issued in Canada, including a health card, when they are booking appointments or attending clinics as part of a process to track vaccinations.

Cocq said many of the workers already don’t use the health-care system because they’re afraid of losing their jobs if an employer discovers their immigration status so it’s not surprising they’re hesitant to get vaccinated.

“People are very concerned about what happens with their personal information when they share it with any officials or with any authorities,” she said.

“They’ve heard stories about what happens if (the Canada Border Services Agency) is called.”

Cocq said vaccinations could be tracked using government-issued identification from a worker’s home country or, as in the case for some homeless people in Toronto, through other means, such as an email address, a library card or a letter from a food bank or community agency.

People without permanent residency status are often employed as personal support workers or care aides in long-term care facilities, and in sectors like construction and agriculture, mostly in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.

Ontario alone is home to at least 500,000 undocumented workers based on data from 2016, Cocq said. The number is likely much higher now, she said, because of stricter language and education criteria for care workers, for example, which prevents some people from applying for permanent residency.

“Unequal access and barriers to getting the COVID-19 vaccine are a product of a person’s immigration status,” she said.

Anna Maddison, a spokeswoman for the Public Health Agency of Canada, said COVID-19 vaccines are available for everyone without a health card, but logistics involving identification requirements are decided by provincial and territorial governments.

Health ministries in Ontario and British Columbia said undocumented and migrant workers do not need to present medical cards before being vaccinated but they did not say whether non-government identification could be used.

The B.C. Health Ministry said information provided to public health officials for immunization will not be shared with other organizations. More details on the documents that will be asked for will be available when provincewide online registration starts on April 6, it said.

Cocq said the alliance has issued a proposal for various jurisdictions to provide clear information in multiple languages on booking websites about access to vaccinations for everyone, along with an assurance that personal details will not be shared with authorities.

Those policies should also be made available to people booking appointments on phone lines and administering vaccines at clinics so they’re not asking for medical card numbers, she said.

Judy Illes, a professor of neurology at the University of British Columbia and the Canada Research Chair in neuroethics, said governments should quickly develop transparent processes to ensure everyone who wants a vaccine can get one in a safe environment.

“To the extent that new issues are arising, like hesitancy among undocumented workers, that needs to be addressed so there is trust in the system and the chances of discrimination are mitigated as best as possible,” said Illes, who focuses on the ethics of vaccine rollout and access for vulnerable populations.

Byron Cruz, a spokesman for Sanctuary Health in Vancouver, said migrant and undocumented workers are eager to get vaccinated because their jobs put them at risk of being infected with COVID-19 and they often live in small spaces with many people.

“Our concern is that many of the construction workers live in an apartment with two bedrooms and there are sometimes 10 people there. That’s a difficult situation for them,” he said.

The grassroots advocacy group is ready to encourage workers to visit mobile vaccination clinics at their job sites if that option is available, but Cruz said they also need to give assurances that no one would be at risk of being deported based on their immigration status.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 26, 2021.

Credits: CTV News

Sign up to FREE email alerts from Tribunepoint Weekly - Daily News

When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.

- Advertisement -

Read Also

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

Latest News

Anambra 2021: Soludo remains APGA Guber candidate – Ex-CBN boss’ spokesman, Pauly Onyeka insists

The camp of former Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Governor Prof. Charles Soludo, has rubbished the recent court orders declaring Chuma Umeoji...

Kwara APC crisis: Parallel congresses imminent on Saturday

There are strong indications that parallel congresses will be held by the two major warring factions of the All Progressives Congress in...

Man City to get £10m from Sancho’s transfer to Manchester United

Manchester City will earn around £10 million following Jadon Sancho’s move from Borussia Dortmund to their rivals Manchester United.

We don’t rig elections, Nigerians trust us – APC replies PDP

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has rejected the allegation of planned rigging in 2023 made by National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic...

UK govt meets FG over Nnamdi Kanu’s rearrest, pledges to assist IPOB leader

The British High Commission has said it will engage the Nigerian Government over the rearrest of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous...