Farmworkers in Central California's West Fresno County receive COVID vaccine

FRESNO, Calif. -- The vaccination rollout continued in Central California Monday -- as dozens of essential farmworkers received the COVID-19 shot in West Fresno County.

Farmworkers are among the most vulnerable populations because they work in close proximity to each other and go home often to multi-generational households.

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Advocates are lobbying for California's 800,000 farmworkers to have high-priority in receiving the coronavirus vaccine.

"Vaccinating our essential farmworkers will ensure the safety of their workplaces, their homes, their families, our food supply and the vital services that they perform," said Fresno County Supervisor Brian Pacheco.

The county has set aside enough doses from the state to get up to 3,000 essential agriculture workers vaccinated this week, but officials say that's not enough when you consider Fresno County has between 70,000 to 90,000 people who toil in the fields.

"We simply do not have enough vaccine, and I can't emphasize that enough. Get us more vaccines so we can protect our community," said Pacheco.

According to Pacheco, Fresno County has the capacity to administer up to 50,000 shots a week, however, only 8,000 doses arrived in its latest shipment from the state.

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Ventura County officials and industry executives are outlining the steps taken to keep farmworkers in the $2 billion industry healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials are urging Sacramento to send more vaccines to help streamline the rollout

"We're relying heavily on our elected state representatives to get to the governor and increase our allocation here in the Valley. It seems like we're always second best and we need our representatives to come forward and get us our fair share."

This initial vaccination effort will be carried out in various facilities across Fresno County.

Monday's effort focused on essential farm workers but the county intends to get processing plant and meatpacking plant workers vaccinated in the coming days.

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The agricultural industry is making sure the food we eat every day is clean and safe.

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