NYC migrant crisis: Uncertainty over immunization deadlines for migrant children

With the new school year set to begin in New York City in just a few days, questions continue to surround the immunization requirements for migrant children who will enter the city's public school system.

Migrant parents can bring their children to the city's Migrant Welcome Center, formerly known as the Roosevelt Hotel, to be checked out by a doctor and get the required school vaccinations. They'll have 30 days to get that done, but there may be no consequences if they miss the deadline.

New York City Public School students must have health exams and proof of vaccinations for serious diseases including Polio, Hepatitis B, Measles, and Chicken Pox before they can start school. But for migrants, there's a 30-day deadline, not to actually get vaccinated, but to begin the process.

"They have 30 days to begin the process of getting their health examination and getting their vaccinations. So what that means is that if they don't have them, they can make an appointment to begin to get them with Health and Hospitals, with one of the clinics," said Liza Schwartzwald of the New York Immigration Coalition.


Vaccines among migrant children spark controversy in NY public schools

The Department of Education said this week, students in temporary housing do not need to show proof of vaccination but have 30 days to get inoculated.

Speaking on Good Day New York, Vasan insisted that there is one standard for all children.  

"I want to be super clear. The requirements for all New York City Public School students are exactly the same,' Vasan said.

However, Dr. Vasan did acknowledge the difficulty of migrant parents having documentation that their kids have received the required shots.  

"As soon as they get to the navigation center at the Roosevelt Hotel they get screened and connected into care and that's where a pediatrician can actually do those tests to see what a child is immune against," Vasan said. 

If migrant parents do not have their kids vaccinated in 30 days, they won't necessarily face any consequences if they tried, said Schwartzwald. 

"So as long as they have an appointment, their school will work with them to keep them enrolled," Schwartzwald said.

Schools Chancellor David Banks says at the end of last year, there were 19,000 migrant students in the city system, and he expects at least hundreds more this year. Banks says they will find the resources necessary to give these children an education.