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Health officials say undocumented immigrants are encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccine

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MARATHON COUNTY (WAOW) - According to the U.S. Census, there are about 1,600 people in Wausau who are undocumented. Throughout the state of Wisconsin, there are 75,000 undocumented residents.

This is why health officials say it is crucial that everyone gets vaccinated regardless of their citizenship status.

"We see more severe illness in people that are from a population of color so we want everyone to get vaccinated," said Judy Burrows with the Marathon County Health Department.

However, many are afraid their status might be jeopardized if they get a COVID-19 vaccine.

News 9 spoke to an undocumented immigrant who chose to remain anonymous.

She said people in her community are fearful but she knows it is for her own good to get vaccinated.

Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security released a statement saying "DHS encourages all individuals regardless of immigration status to receive the COVID-19 vaccine."

"They live in this community, they work hard in this community, they deserve the same care as anybody else," said Tony Gonzalez the Hispanic Community Coordinator for the H2H program.

Gonzalez goes to rural areas in and educates the undocumented community of their health care rights.

"They do not need to be a citizen in order to get a COVID vaccine you do need to be able to provide your name and contact info," Burrows said.

This is because your health care provider needs to contact you when it is time to get your second dose.

Senator Tammy Baldwin released a statement to News 9 saying "Every individual who needs a vaccine will be able to get one regardless of their immigration status."

She said she hopes this messaged will put an ease to the undocumented community.

Victoria Saha

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