Farmworker Advocates Seek Priority Vaccinations for Migrant Workers

Farming is Essential Work in Northern California

San Joaquin Valley is located in the center of California.  The area is long and flat and has mountain ranges on either side.  It enjoys dry and hot summers followed by foggy and cool winters.  The topographical and climate conditions combine to make the valley one of the most high-yielding agricultural areas in the world, and as such, is home to many farmworkers and their families. 

The San Joaquin Valley includes the following counties: 

  • San Joaquin
  • Kings
  • Most of Stanislaus
  • Merced
  • Fresno
  • Parts of Madera
  • Parts of Tulare
  • The majority of Kern County

Though it is mostly rural, the valley does have larger, more urban cities, including Stockton, Modesto, Merced, Bakersfield, and Stockton.

Below are some of the top money-making crops grown in San Joaquin County:

  • Grapes
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Cherries
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Hay

A Push to Protect Farmworkers from COVID-19

Several community groups and religious organizations in the Central Valley are contacting their elected leaders and advocating for migrant workers to be prioritized to receive vaccination against COVID-19.

As one pastor from Lodi explained, migrant workers have continued to provide essential work throughout the pandemic, allowing Americans access to fresh fruits and vegetables.  Because of their commitment to such an important role, they should be placed towards the front of the line for the vaccine. The pastor is one of many ringing this bell.  In fact, throughout farming communities, there seems to be a fairly united front urging officials to promptly provide vaccines to field workers.  Community members are encouraged to contact their local elected leaders in support of this movement.  

Latinx Community Disproportionately Affected by the Pandemic

An urgent letter was sent to elected officials throughout California’s “salad bowl” detailing how more than half of COVID-19 cases throughout California, including within San Joaquin County, affect the Latinx community.  Most of the farm working families in heavily agricultural areas have suffered deaths of relatives due to COVID-19.

Proponents of fast-tracking the vaccination for farmworkers want action taken swiftly.  The farm laborers have no option to work from home and must continue to go out into the fields next to other workers, sometimes bringing home the virus to their extended family members.  The opportunity to spread the virus will increase in the coming weeks as Spring approaches, and more field workers will need to be hired.  

Advocates liken the farm laborers providing this service, essential to our food supply, to frontline workers.  Currently, several counties within the Central Valley have plans to provide vaccines to farmworkers under Phase 1C, but this movement stresses the need to move the group up in priority. 

Watch the YouTube video from NBC on the sacrifices being made by farm workers during the pandemic.

Farm Working Dangers 

Farmworkers are no strangers to occupational hazards.  According to OSHA, farm laborers are at high risk for injuries and fatalities, including but not limited to:

  • Hearing loss from noisy equipment
  • Occupation-related lung diseases
  • Skin conditions
  • Certain cancers associated with sun exposure and chemical use

Lodi Farm Accident Lawyer

Hello.  My name is Ed Smith, and I am a Lodi Farming Accident Attorney.  If you or anyone you love has been injured in a farming accident or has been involved in an automobile accident caused by livestock or farm equipment, do not hesitate to call the experienced injury lawyers at my firm.  Our phone number is (209) 227-1931 or, from outside the local area code, use our toll-free line: (800) 404-5400.  We are happy to offer free and friendly advice. Español hablado aquí.

Enlisting a skilled attorney to help with your case can take your mind off the frustrations and complexities associated with legal matters.  This allows you to focus your energies on healing.  To help with your decision, please have a look at our reviews written by prior clients which are available on Yelp, Avvo, and Google.

 Photo Attribution:

mm llo [cs 671]

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