The two women, who were barred from getting vaccinated in separate incidents this month, have been asked to return by Rite Aid to receive their vaccinations, a spokesperson for the drugstore chain told ABC News on Sunday. .
Rite Aid spokesperson Christopher Savarese described the two cases as “isolated” incidents resulting from shop workers not following established vaccine eligibility protocols. Employees will be re-educated on the protocols to make sure everyone is on the same page, he said.
Savarese said that of the hundreds of thousands of vaccines administered by Rite Aid, these are the only two complaints the channel is aware of.
In a statement later sent to ABC News, Rite Aid officials said, “In such an unprecedented deployment, there will be mistakes and there will always be areas for providers to improve – we are looking for these opportunities every day. . ”
Savarese added: “It is very important for us that this is corrected. The two situations we are talking about have been resolved, and these two people will receive their vaccine at Rite Aid. ”
Rite Aid apologized after a son of one of the women and the other woman’s employer, who is a babysitter, spoke to ABC Los Angeles station KABC.
Sebastian Araujo, a UCLA student who is considering becoming an immigration attorney, said his mother was fired from a Rite Aid in Mission Hills, Calif., After being asked to show a social security card and that she could only produce her foreign consular identity.
Araujo told KABC he spoke out on his mother’s behalf in an effort to ensure all undocumented immigrants to the United States are allowed to be vaccinated when eligible under state guidelines , local and federal.
“I know my mom isn’t the only one,” Araujo said.
Kevin Rager from Orange County told KABC that his children’s babysitter, an undocumented immigrant, was reduced to tears when she was rejected at a Rite Aid store twice on the same day.
Rager said his employee even provided Rite Aid with out-of-state identification and a letter he wrote to verify that she was supervising her children. But the pharmacist at a Rite Aid in Laguna Niguel, according to Rager, insisted on seeing the woman’s Social Security card and falsely told her that the priority of vaccines went to American citizens.
“These questions should not be asked of anyone, and our whole country needs to be immunized. So I don’t see why someone should be denied a vaccine, ”Rager said.
Representative Tony Cárdenas, who represents Los Angeles, said a person’s legal immigration status is not supposed to interfere with vaccination.
“It’s not a requirement at all at the federal, state or local level, and this organization (Rite Aid) was made very clear that this was wrong, and they immediately apologized for doing it, but it left the woman very distraught. Cárdenas told KABC about the Rager employee.
On February 1, the Federal Department of Homeland Security released a statement that the agency and its “federal government partners fully support equal access to COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine distribution sites for immigrants illegal immigrants”.
“It is a moral and public health imperative to ensure that everyone residing in the United States has access to the vaccine. DHS encourages all individuals, regardless of their immigration status, to receive the COVID-19 vaccine once eligible under local distribution guidelines, ”the DHS statement reads.
However, confusion over whether undocumented immigrants qualify for the vaccine has continued to occur not only in Southern California, but elsewhere in the country. University of Texas Rio Grande Valley apologized to at least 14 people who were rejected on February 20 at its vaccination site because they could not provide proof of residence in the United States.
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