Undocumented Residents Denied COVID-19 Vaccine By OC Rite Aid Pharmacies

After two undocumented women were denied their COVID-19 vaccinations at Rite Aid stores in Orange County, community groups are reassuring immigrants that they can receive the vaccine regardless of their status.

Video Transcript

- Some disturbing incidents on California's road to get everyone vaccinated. Some undocumented immigrants are actually being denied. And that's not how it's supposed to work. CBS2 Orange County reporter Michele Gile takes a closer look tonight.

YESENIA RAGER: She-- first she got asked for a Social-- health care insurance, then Social Security number.

MICHELE GILE: Yesenia Rager's nanny was turned away from this Rite Aid in Laguna Niguel, where she came for a vaccine, according to her boss. The humiliation she felt was similar to the experience that Sebastian Araujo's mother felt at the Rite Aid in LA County, in Mission Hills. He tweeted about it.

Both women are undocumented. Both were improperly denied shots, but eventually did get vaccinated at the pharmacy, which is issuing apologies.

JIM MANGIA: I'm here today because I'm angry. I'm angry at the way our immigrant communities are being treated and have been treated for the last year. If we're going to get out of this pandemic, we need to come together as a community and vaccinate everyone.

MICHELE GILE: Immigrants rights and health care advocates called out those refusing to vaccinate undocumented immigrants.

ANGELICA SALAS: You deserve and have access, full access to vaccination. Don't let anybody-- anybody tell you because of your immigration status that you don't qualify for this vaccination. You do.

MICHELE GILE: Yesenia Rager is upset that she and her nanny were told lies about who is eligible for the vaccine.

YESENIA RAGER: The first thing that came out of his mouth was your employer does not have a Social Security number and we're giving priority to American citizens.

MICHELE GILE: Rite Aid is apologizing to the women. Quote, "We believe these were isolated incidents and mistakes, and are working hard to assure all associates are aware of our policy. In a case where a customer does not have identification, we advise our associates not to turn the customer away. Thankfully, we've been able to rectify these mistakes."

In Laguna Niguel, Michele Gile CBS2 News.