Farmworkers get vaccine at central California mobile clinic

Coronavirus vaccines

California farmworkers lined up for the coronavirus vaccine at a mobile clinic that organizers hope will be a model for outreach to a community that’s been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

About 1,000 workers from several farms were expected to receive shots Sunday and Wednesday at the Monterey Mushrooms facility in Morgan Hill, Santa Clara County health officials said.

"The best way we can honor our frontline workers is what we’re doing today, which is getting them vaccinations," County Supervisor Cindy Chavez said at the pop-up site in a rural area just south of the San Francisco Bay Area.

The county’s first mobile vaccine clinic targeted farmworkers to comply with newly expanded state eligibility that includes workers in the education sector, emergency services, and in food and agriculture. County officials expect to move next to a location in agricultural Gilroy.

The United Farm Workers union joined the county and Monterey Mushrooms, a longtime agricultural producer, in partnering to organize Sunday's event.

Farmworkers have been one of the hardest hit communities since the start of the pandemic. A University of California, Berkeley study found that 13% of Salinas Valley farmworkers tested positive for the coronavirus between mid-July and November. In comparison, only 5% of Californians overall tested positive between the start of the pandemic in March and November.

At least 35 of the state’s 58 counties have begun vaccinating education workers, the governor’s office said last week.

San Diego County officials announced that COVID-19 vaccinations would open this weekend for people in emergency services, child care and education, and food and agriculture.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s vaccine prioritization plan also includes custodians, administrators, food and bus workers and other staff who are working at schools or expect to be at school within the next three weeks.