Some concerned residency requirement will deter people from getting vaccine

As Florida moves to make it mandatory to require proof of residency at COVID-19 vaccination sites, some community leaders say it will stop some people from getting the vaccine. 

The State of Florida on Thursday began requiring proof of residency at vaccination sites after reports of people traveling from other states to get the vaccine. Father Jose Rodriguez of Iglesia Episcopal Jesús de Nazaret believes it should not be required. 

"Because we're focused on keeping outside tourists from being vaccinated guess who's being left behind? Residents in our community that doesn't have an ID," said Father Rodriguez. 

Representative Randy Fine says that if someone doesn't have an ID, then they can prove it other ways. 

"They're a renter, they own a property or they have an electric bill," said Fine. "The idea is that they show a tie to the community and they should have that."

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Representative Fine says if someone can't prove they're a resident, they simply won't be able to get the vaccine. 

"If people are concerned about having to prove they're not a vaccine tourist, then they can wait," said Rep. Fine. 

However, Father Rodriguez says that it's not always as simple as that. 

"Multigenerational families, part-timers, elderly that go from child to child," said Father Rodriguez. "There are many legitimate reasons that people will live in a community but not have any paperwork attaching them to that community."

Father Rodriguez says that even if they can bring in a utility bill or rent, there's still a concern. 

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"Are they going to ask if I'm legally here? Why? It just leads to a trail of questions that are going to push people away from getting the vaccine we need in these communities," said Father Rodriguez. 

Volusia and Seminole counties have said they will work with people who don't' have an ID on a case-by-case basis. 

"Our goal is not to turn people away and we are giving people the benefit of the doubt, but our message to out-of-state residents is that, as a state-run site, we have an obligation to heed the governor's recommendations," the Volusia County Public Information Officer said in a statement. 

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