Central Valley Rep. Josh Harder is urging California public health officials to prioritize all agricultural workers in its distribution plan for COVID-19 vaccines.

“Ag is too often left behind in policy discussions and our farmworkers get lip service instead of the help they need,” said Harder in a statement. “It’s not enough to call farmworkers 'essential' if you’re not going to treat them as essential.”

He called for a broad definition of agricultural workers that would include farmers, farmworkers and processing plant workers in the 1B tier of vaccine access.

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In introducing a bill on vaccines this week, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (above) called for the state to prioritize farmworkers and grocery store workers in the top tier.

“This measure moves to strengthen legislative safeguards for these vulnerable populations,” he said. “Our frontline workers should be at the front of the line.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom said the first vaccines should be arriving as early as this week. The Legislature will not begin considering the legislation, however, until it returns to session on Jan. 4.