Grower-Shipper Association Works With Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas to Continue Vaccination Efforts; Christopher Valadez Discusses
SALINAS, CA - While we have been able to enjoy a renewed sense of normalcy over the past few weeks, important boots-on-the-ground efforts continue to protect the health of ag workers. The Grower-Shipper Association of Central California (GSA) and Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas (CSVS) are at the forefront of these efforts, recently adding smaller clinics for essential workers as well as implementing vaccines to children and families of farm workers.
“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.”
Recognizing the need to also protect the health of the families of farm workers, GSA and CSVS recently held their first vaccination clinics for children 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, and the mass vaccination clinics held at the Rodeo Grounds in Salinas and the Salinas Valley Fairgrounds in King City will continue through July. Several hundred to thousands of ag employees have been vaccinated per clinic, and the program received national attention for this volume and the protection provided as essential workers returned for 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.”
We thank these two industry advocates for their crucial efforts in protecting the health and safety of fresh produce farm workers.