A coalition of groups in Monterey County are calling for a special allocation of COVID-19 vaccines for ag workers. The county farm bureau has joined with United Farm Workers and several other organizations in requesting the state deliver 55,000 additional vaccines for the community.

“Within the next two months, up to 15,000 farmworkers will begin coming in,” said Chris Valadez, president of the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California (above), in a letter to the governor. “This influx of farmworkers is in addition to the approximately 40,000 farm and food workers who live in Monterey County year-round.”

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The coalition estimates more than 16,000 farmworkers in the county have contracted the virus. In Salinas, one in five fieldworkers has fallen ill.

Cesar Lara, who heads the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council, recognized that this “unique partnership” united to pursue one goal. Vaccinating this vulnerable workforce, he said, will benefit the overall health and economy of the region.