Prioritizing food system workers, many states are now ensuring early access to the COVID-19 vaccine to their farmers and food workers. For this plan to be more effective, the researcher has reached out to the states to encourage them to build trust with food workers and break the language and cultural barrier. So that the food workers can cooperate and participate in this early vaccination program.
According to the states, submitted plans in mid of October to the Centers for disease control and prevention, the vaccine could be provided to agricultural, meat, and food processing workforces in the early year, 2021. However, food workers who have worked for months at high risk of catching the virus may be wary of taking a vaccine if they are not targeted by “trusted messengers” and insufficient information about the potential of vaccines. According to advocate, public health, and labor, the vaccine carries high risks.
“If the need for the vaccine wasn’t cleared properly, these workers will feel it unnecessary,” says Edgar Franks, political-director of AWU. Adding apprehensions, he said: “The workers would not want to be in this situation again if the vaccine does not work well.
To give the vaccine’s early-access to farm and food workers, the food industry has been campaigning to federal and state officials for several months. However, scientists say that the vaccine should not be perceived as a remedy and should be combined with other protective measures in the workplace as new case and out-breaks continue to be regularly reported. According to FERN-Tracker, as of November 9, more than 72,500 employees in the food system have contracted COVID-19 and at-least 327 of them have died.
Alexis Guild, Director Health Policy at Farm-worker Justice said:
Protection is important and that includes vaccine, but the vaccines do not mean there should be no protection against COVID-19 at work.