Santa Clara County health officials teamed up with an iconic labor union to vaccinate hundreds of farm workers who are essential to the region's food supply, bringing a sense of relief to those seeking to protect themselves from COVID-19.
CHRIS NGUYEN: On the outskirts of Morgan Hill, a sense of relief for those seeking to protect themselves from COVID-19.
MATY AVILA: I feel secure now. I feel awesome. Protected, somewhat.
CHRIS NGUYEN: Gilroy resident Maty Avila was among hundreds of farm workers who received their second vaccine dose, a major effort made possible by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department. Countywide, the Ag Sector accounts for approximately $1.6 billion a year in economic impact. Many workers are of Hispanic Latino descent, a community that's been disproportionately impacted by the virus.
JOE DEVINEY: A lot of the agricultural work is side by side, whether it be in a mushroom facility or in the field. So the essential nature of their work, that's why we're here today, to make sure that they are safe.
CHRIS NGUYEN: Today's pop-up vaccination site at Monterey Mushrooms was set up with support from the United Farm Workers Labor Union. The partnership especially meaningful as America celebrates Cesar Chavez Day and the many contributions Chavez made to the Civil Rights and labor movement.
- This is an incredible example of stewardship and collaboration supporting the health and well-being of our teammates and other agricultural workers, who are essential to food production.
CHRIS NGUYEN: The push to get more farm workers vaccinated is part of the county's focus on prioritizing under-served communities, despite low vaccine supply from the state. This week, the county announced that one out of every three residents 16 and up has already received their first dose.
- We've seen a dip in testing, and we really need people, especially those who haven't been vaccinated, to continue to get testing so that we make sure we don't have another rise.
CHRIS NGUYEN: This community coming together to battle back against COVID-19. In Morgan Hill, Chris Nguyen, ABC 7 News.