UTRGV outlined steps it will take to ensure no eligible individual will be turned away
In a victory for equitable access, UTRGV has pledged to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to every eligible individual, regardless of immigration status.
UT Health RGV made its pledge in a letter to LUPE Wednesday afternoon, where it revealed that approximately 14 people were turned away based on immigration status or residency. UT Health RGV also committed to our demand that it engage in a public education campaign in English and Spanish to reach immigrant community members.
The victory comes after LUPE staff member Abraham Diaz and his father spoke out on social media, sparking outcry and a rapid response campaign by LUPE to push the university to fulfill its commitment to serving all community members, regardless of immigration status. 1,330 people signed and shared our petition and hundreds more elevated Abraham's voice on social media.
This victory is thanks to the power LUPE members and supporters have built for our community—through actions large and small, on and offline—that move the Rio Grande Valley toward being a stronger, healthier region where families remain together and all can thrive.
UTRGV has taken seriously its position in the community as a leader in public health. That leadership depends on maintaining a strong relationship with immigrant communities. With these actions, UTRGV is taking the lead among vaccine providers in the RGV in declaring that no eligible individual will be denied a vaccine based on immigration status.
This is the standard that we expect from all vaccine providers in the Rio Grande Valley. Medical care must never depend on your immigration status. All vaccine providers have a moral responsibility and public health duty to build trust with immigrant communities. When immigrants do not receive the vaccine, it puts their life in danger and puts us all at risk.
LUPE members will be celebrating this victory, as well as discussing how other vaccine providers can follow UTRGV’s example, on two Facebook Live events this week:
→ English: Thursday, February 25, 1 pm
→ Spanish: Friday, February 26, 11 am
→ Where: facebook.com/LUPErgv/live