With over 40,000 vaccinations administered to farm workers through the combined efforts of the Grower Shipper Association of Central California (GSA) and Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas (CSVS), this partnership has added smaller clinics for essential workers and will also provide vaccines to children and families of farm workers at farms and facilities.
“Over the last five months, mass clinics effectively and efficiently provided thousands of farm workers with needed vaccinations,” says Christopher Valadez, GSA President. “But as we have reached this significant vaccination level, our efforts have evolved to smaller clinics which will vaccinate hundreds of farm workers at a time. These clinics will continue to be conducted in coordination with ag employers,” Valadez says.
Recognizing the need to also protect the health of the families of farm workers, GSA and CSVS recently held vaccination clinics for children. The first clinics were conducted at CSVS in King City and Sierra Farms in Moss Landing.
“We want to provide these clinics prior to schools re-opening in the fall so children over 12 can be vaccinated in a trusted place and at a time and location that is most convenient for parents,” Valadez says.
GSA and CSVS conducted their first mass vaccination clinic on February 26. The mass vaccination clinics held at the Rodeo Grounds in Salinas and the Salinas Valley Fairgrounds in King City continue through July and have vaccinated several hundred to thousands of ag employees per clinic. These clinics received national attention for the volume of vaccinations administered and protection provided as essential workers returned for the harvest.
“While we have made great progress in protecting farm workers from COVID-19, this is a persistent and evolving virus as evidenced by what we are seeing with the Delta variant,” Valadez says. “We must be diligent about onsite worker protection strategies, providing safe and comfortable quarantined housing options for those exposed or infected as well as giving essential employees easily accessible vaccines. The hard work must continue to ensure the health and safety of our region’s farm workers,” he adds. — By Christopher Valadiez, Grower-Shipper Association President