Farmworkers get vaccinated in Santa Clara Co.

Beginning Sunday, Santa Clara County is expanding its list of those eligible for the vaccine to include teachers and farm workers.

Video Transcript

- The expanded effort included a clinic for farmworkers where they work. ABC 7 News Reporter Anser Hassan explains county officials say not only is it critical to stop the spread, it's also an important part of economic recovery.

ANSER HASSAN: Mario Francisco Martinez says he was nervous about getting his COVID-19 vaccination.

Did it hurt?

MARIO FRANCISCO MARTINEZ: No, I feel nothing.

ANSER HASSAN: He's one of 500 farmworkers getting vaccinated at this pop-up site at Monterey Mushrooms in Morgan Hill.

MARIO FRANCISCO MARTINEZ: I think it's very convenient, very convenient. We come to work. And at the same time, we get the vaccination. So it's easier for us.

ANSER HASSAN: Santa Clara County is now vaccinating farmworkers, considered to be essential workers along with teachers. Advocates say it's critical to vaccinate farmworkers since they've been so hard hit.

DIANA TELLEFSON TORRES: It was a 59% increase in death during the pandemic of these workers. So we know that farmworkers are at a very high risk of death.

ANSER HASSAN: Monterey Mushroom CEO Shah Kazemi says having a pop-up site helps the county maximize its reach, but it also provides a safe place for those hesitant about getting vaccinated.

SHAH KAZEMI: You can extend the process. You could have a much more robust vaccination program and get-- by the time you get done, we will vaccinate a thousand farm workers.

CINDY CHAVEZ: Some of the biggest outbreaks that we've had across the country have been in canneries or in fields.

ANSER HASSAN: Supervisor Cindy Chavez says agriculture is a multi-billion dollar industry here in Santa Clara County and an important part of the food chain in the US. She says vaccinating farmworkers keeps the industry strong.

CINDY CHAVEZ: There are two issues that we need to remember. One is just basically making sure that people get the healthy food they need. And the other is that it's an important part of our economic recovery as well.

ANSER HASSAN: In Morgan Hill, Anser Hassan, ABC 7 News.