In full transparency, this is a press release from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office submitted to SOURCE media.
BOSTON – As more people become eligible to get vaccinated in Massachusetts, Attorney General Maura Healey is reminding the public and vaccine providers that ID cards, Social Security numbers, health insurance information, and other forms of identification are not required to get the vaccine and people cannot be turned away because they don’t have them.
“Our most vulnerable populations, including immigrants, have been hard hit by COVID-19 infections, yet they often face the greatest barriers to accessing the vaccine,” said Healey. “We are reminding both residents and vaccine providers that people don’t need identification or health insurance to get the vaccine. It’s vital that we work to remove these kinds of obstacles so we can effectively combat this virus and make sure vaccines are accessible to our most at-risk residents.”
While the federal government encourages vaccine providers to ask patients for ID and health insurance information, you cannot be denied the vaccine if you don’t have them or don’t provide them. To reduce these barriers to accessing the vaccine, it’s important that the public and vaccine providers are aware that identification and health insurance are not required for people to receive the vaccine.
Many vulnerable residents may not have a form of identification or health insurance. For example, immigrants often lack state IDs, driver’s licenses, Social Security numbers, or health insurance. They may also be fearful about providing these documents because of their immigration status.
Victims of domestic violence may lack forms of identification or other documents when they flee from their abusers, and individuals experiencing homelessness may also face difficulty in obtaining these documents.
The AG’s Office notes that denying a vaccine to a patient who doesn’t produce a photo identification, a Social Security number, or health insurance may violate Massachusetts anti-discrimination law as such practices may be discriminatory or have a disparate impact based on national origin or race. Deceiving or misleading a consumer into believing that identification or health insurance is legally required, when no such requirement exists, may also be a violation of the state’s consumer protection law.
Further, any agency or health care provider that collects sensitive information from individuals including their names, along with their Social Security numbers, state ID numbers or driver’s license numbers is required to adopt security safeguards to prevent identity theft.
The AG’s Office is also reminding residents that vaccine records are confidential, and the vaccine is free to everyone.
The AG’s Office urges those who have concerns about discrimination to contact the office’s Civil Rights Division at 617-963-2917 or to file a complaint online.