MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — The state of Maryland and several of its counties say they have put a focus on equity when it comes to distributing and administering COVID-19 vaccines, but allegations of racial profiling have since popped up at several vaccination sites across the state.
The local Vaccine Hunters group says they’ve received reports of alleged racial profiling of those arriving for appointments at a hospital in Montgomery County, a vaccination site in College Park and pharmacies across the region.
“An African-American woman went to a hospital site, and she watched her white counterparts get asked for no additional ID. She was asked for her ID and a letter from her employer,” said Maisie Lynch, one of the founding members of the Vaccine Hunters group in Montgomery County.
“She was asked to show her teaching certificate to show that she was a teacher, even though she had already shown a pay stub and a teacher ID,” said Vaccine Hunter Maria Peterson.
As part of the Vaccine Hunters group, Lynch, Peterson and other fellow educators spend their free time making appointments for vulnerable populations. They have seen inconsistent ID requirements across vaccine providers and from patient to patient.
“My husband, he got vaccinated last week. You know, he’s a white guy from the Midwest. He walked in and said ‘I have an appointment.’ They said, ‘Okay, go ahead and sit down, sir.’ He did not have to open his wallet, show his ID, nothing,” said Peterson.
The group says if sites are going to require any kind of documentation at all, policies should be equally enforced for everyone coming in to get a shot.
“Don’t be picking and choosing,” said Peterson. “I am going to ask this person nothing. Just give me your name, have a seat. But, I’m going to ask another person for three forms of documentation.”
The group is calling for clear expectations of ID requirements at all sites and a statewide hotline number you could call if you run into an issue at a vaccination site. Along with those asks, they’re also hoping to see more multi-lingual signage and increased accessibility for those getting their information online.