An equitable distribution of COVID vaccine must include noncitizens

The federal government must ensure that all people living in the United States have equitable and uniform access to the COVID-19 vaccine. Equitable access means that noncitizens receive access to the vaccine on the same terms as U.S. citizens — in the phase for which they qualify, and without cost as a barrier. This virus does not discriminate based on nationality, gender, religion, or immigration status. It doesn’t respect invisible geographic borders between cities, counties or states. If noncitizens are excluded or deterred from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, we will face a prolonged pandemic with many opportunities for the virus to mutate and cases will continue to surge.

This is not simply a matter of fairness, although it is that, too. It is also a matter of keeping society functioning during this national emergency, ending the risk of contagion as soon as possible, and protecting the personal and economic liberty of the American people. Eighteen percent of the essential workforce in this country is foreign-born. We must protect this workforce, including the noncitizen employees, in order to keep critical industries functioning during the pandemic.