The Grower-Shipper Association of Central California (GSA) and Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas (CSVS) announced a new program to administer COVID-19 vaccinations for Monterey County farm workers beginning this Thursday, February 25. While this program will be initially limited to farm workers age 65 and over, GSA and CSVS plan to expand the program next week in order to vaccinate the broader population of agricultural employees.
As a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), CSVS is receiving the supply of vaccines designated for food and agricultural workers directly from the federal government.
“It is truly an honor to be entrusted to receive and to manage such a valuable resource as this vaccine. When future generations of Americans look back at this moment of our history, we can all smile proudly knowing that all people came together in the Salinas Valley in a concerted effort guided by medical and public health strategies to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2 among our people,” according to Dr. Max Cuevas, MD, CEO, Clinica De Salud Del Valle De Salinas.
“CSVS and GSA began working on a vaccination distribution system as soon as we learned about their potential availability,” says Christopher Valadez, GSA President. “We knew it was crucial to have an effective and efficient appointment-based program in place before harvesting began in the spring to protect these essential workers.” Valadez said this collaboration with CSVS was built upon a partnership created in June 2020 which provides increased access to COVID-19 testing for farm workers with expedited results.
GSA will work directly with ag employers to register eligible individuals for vaccinations. For those interested in securing vaccines for their employees through this program, GSA will work directly with CSVS to schedule vaccination appointments.
GSA members have also volunteered their facilities as vaccination sites where CSVS staff will administer vaccines. The first clinic will take place at D’Arrigo California.
“We are collaborating with key health and agricultural industry stakeholders to host the first mass vaccination site for agricultural workers in Monterey County. Our goal is to provide meaningful, strategic and prevention-oriented actions to protect the health and safety of our agricultural workers,” says John D’Arrigo, President, CEO and Chairman of the Board, D’Arrigo California.
Dr. Cuevas adds that protecting food and agricultural workers from this virus through vaccinations is critical to protecting our national security by ensuring that our food supply is not interrupted by production shortages.