Defending People's Rights and Freedoms


New York, NY – As vaccine hesitancy continues to undermine COVID-19 vaccination efforts, a New York crisis management lawyer, believes that vaccinating immigrant children in the United States, requires thinking out of the box. Vivian M. Williams, who offers immigration and crisis management services thinks existing vaccination laws, complicate matters for immigrant children.   

In 40 of the 50 states, the law requires parents to provide approval for their child under the age of 18 to receive medical treatment, including vaccines. These medical consent laws vary in different states. While some states relaxed laws so older children and teens can easily obtain vaccination against COVID-19, other push for more restrictions. Tougher restrictions prevent teens from obtaining medical treatment without parental consent.

The requirement that a parent be present complicates things for immigrant children because their parents are more likely to be at work during the hours that vaccination sites operate”; Williams says. 

Immigrants are more likely to be employed in day labor positions. Many migrant workers toil in farm fields or on large-scale construction projects each day. Because both parents may be working in jobs not covered by the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA), they may not be able to take their children to vaccination appointments. Without the protection of the FMLA, immigrant parents may lose pay if they take a day off. Absence from work could also get them fired. 

To mitigate the problem, “we have to think outside the box”, the experienced immigration lawyer says. He urges clinicians to borrow ideas from other medical practitioners to ensure immigrants are adequately protected from COVID-19. 

Recommendation No. 1: Vaccination Clinics After-Hour and Weekends

Health care providers in various areas have overcome work commitment as an obstacle to access to healthcare by offering vaccination clinics after-hours or on weekends. These options could increase the COVID vaccination rate among immigrant children. The effect would be two-fold. First it would boost job security for adults. Second, it would improve the safety of immigrant children, who typically attend public schools in the local area, as well as migrant camps. Vaccination clinics should also be set up in migrant camps.

Recommendation No. 2: coordination between Clinicians and Health Departments

Clinicians should call their state and county health departments to determine which counties overrode state laws with their own consent laws. You can also use the website to learn about consent laws for minors in your county and state. also provides guidance for teens to start a conversation about COVID-19 vaccinations with their parents. You could also subscribe to the VMW LAW mailing list to receive useful updates and alerts on laws may affect you.  

Recommendation No. 3: Vaccination Clinic Considerations that Cater to Immigrants

Clinicians also need to structure vaccination clinics to cater for migrants and immigrant community needs. Besides working around their work schedules, clinicians need to provide other customizations to ensure the vaccination clinic assists as many individuals as possible. The prominent New York immigration lawyer suggest considering:

  • Mobility issues, such as shut-ins or those without vehicles experience,
  • Language barriers, easily accommodated by providing a translator,
  • Cultural barriers, such as mistrust of authority or reliance on natural or homeopathic medicine which you can address through written information in their native language,
  • Fear of sharing their immigration status, which you can accommodate by declaring your policy.

Traveling to migrant camps with a mobile vaccination clinic can help alleviate the third and fourth problems. You can also host pop-up clinics at churches, grocery stores, and flea markets to increase vaccination numbers and improve your standing in their community as a trusted source of medical information and treatment. This also provides you with an opportunity to provide culturally relevant vaccination materials that can help you turn the tide of the opinion of vaccines and US medical authorities.

Consider partnering with local churches to provide translators for group education, so you do not violate HIPPA laws regarding privacy. You don’t need to hire translators, as this could become prohibitively expensive, especially in areas like New York where a clinic might require individuals capable of translating Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Farsi, French, etc. Partnering with local community groups provides an opportunity for to you address vaccine hesitancy which may be peculiar among immigrants.

Vivian M. Williams is a New York lawyer with close to two decades of experience.  He offers crisis management, immigration, and compliance and assessment services. Find out more and follow him at LinkedIn or Twitter. Call VMW LAW at (646) 756-2894.