“We’re still on the frontlines working every day making sure that food is on the shelves of grocery stores,” Walsh said. “We’re still not being included in any of these working groups.”
Steve Ammerman, a spokesman for New York Farm Bureau, said his group hopes that will change soon as vaccine supply increases. He mentioned that some farmers have anxiety because not only are they waiting for access to the vaccine, but they want to get their workers inoculated too.
Farms, like other worksites, have been affected by COVID-19. In Cayuga County, one of the first outbreaks of the virus involved farmworkers. The first COVID-related death in the county was a farmworker.
Once farmworkers are eligible to receive the vaccine, Ammerman said there are farms interested in holding vaccination clinics for employees and the surrounding areas. Migrant health centers would also help facilitate the vaccination process. Through the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, there are vaccines available for migrant laborers. But, Ammerman noted, the state has to have farmworkers on the eligibility list.
There are other important factors to consider, according to Ammerman. How to facilitate the vaccinations in one question. But there’s also an educational component that’s important.
“It’s also making sure that our employees understand the value and the safety and the efficacy of getting vaccinated,” he said.
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