Gianaris Calls on Pfizer CEO to Include Immigrants & Refugees in Vaccine Distribution

November 10, 2020

NEW YORK – Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris called on Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla to ensure immigrant and refugee communities are given free access to a COVID-19 vaccine, pending its successful release. During a CNN interview today, Dr. Bourla said the vaccine would be free to all United States citizens.

“COVID-19 does not discriminate, and neither should we as access to a vaccine grows closer,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “Some of our hardest hit areas were Black and Brown communities and justice demands any vaccines are available to them. I urge Pfizer to remember all our neighbors and ensure their vaccinations are delivered at no cost to all who need them.”

Senator Gianaris’ full letter to Dr. Bourla appears below:

Albert Bourla, DVM, PhD

Chairman and CEO, Pfizer Inc.

235 East 42nd Street

New York, NY 10017

Dear Dr. Bourla,

I write regarding your recent comments about the progress Pfizer, Inc. is making on a vaccine to address the COVID-19 pandemic. While everyone is waiting with anticipation for a vaccine and a return to normalcy, your recent comments that the vaccine will be free to all American citizens raises an important question: will our refugee and immigrant neighbors (both documented and undocumented) be included in this distribution?

In New York City, our Black and Brown communities – including many immigrant enclaves – were among the hardest hit by the pandemic. They are in serious need of relief and should be among the first areas to receive access to vaccines. The need for no-cost distribution is critical to their survival and I urge Pfizer to ensure that happens.

As we learned over the last several months, this virus does not discriminate. We need to ensure all members of our society are protected against further spread and detrimental health consequences. Please advise how you will ensure these groups are also protected and will have just access to any vaccine distribution.


Senator Michael Gianaris

Deputy Majority Leader


Ambassador Dimitrios Tsikouris (JD, MA) has a 36-year-long career in the Greek Diplomatic Service with assignments in Germany, the United Nations, New Orleans, Washington, DC, NATO Defense College in Rome, Italy, Iran, Belgium, Indonesia, Malaysia, and ASEAN.

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