While frustrated Americans across the country struggle to get their government-funded COVID-19 vaccine, a national drug store chain is apologizing for mistakenly denying illegal immigrants the shot. The pharmacy retail giant, Rite Aid, reportedly turned away two women at separate stores in southern California. In one of the cases, the illegal immigrant provided a foreign identification card that is not valid in the U.S. The pharmacist insisted on a social security card, telling the woman that American citizens have priority, according to a local news report. The woman’s son complained about the pharmacist on social media and a local congressman got involved, confirming that there is no legal residence requirement at the federal, state, or local level.
Rite Aid issued an apology, and the illegal aliens were invited back to get the shot, according to various news reports. The retail company claims the women were “mistakenly” denied the vaccine. A spokesman for the pharmacy chain describes the cases as isolated incidents and promises that the employees will be re-educated on the protocols. “This is very important to us that this is corrected,” the Rite Aid spokesman says in one of the articles. “Both of the situations that we’re talking about have been resolved, and both of those people will be getting their vaccine at Rite Aid.” The retailer assures in another news story that its teams have been retrained regarding its policy of not turning anyone away for the vaccine. “In a case where a customer does not have identification, we advise our associates not to turn the customer away,” Rite Aid now says.
The incident comes on the heels of a public university’s apology to the illegal immigrant community for turning away two people who wanted COVID-19 vaccinations over their legal status. In a statement posted on social media last month, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley writes that it “apologizes to those patients who were affected” and admits it did not follow the most current State of Texas guidelines that all eligible patients, despite their place of residence, be administered a COVID-19 vaccine. The taxpayer-funded university also writes that it is reaching out to the illegal aliens to provide them with “an appointment at their earliest convenience.” The campus with an enrollment of about 30,000 sits in a region near the Mexican border that is known to have a large illegal immigrant population. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley health system assures on its website that “no one will be denied a vaccine by UT Health RGV based on residency or immigration status.”