Ag, food sector workers can register for Covid-19 vaccine in San Benito County

County to partner with Grower Shipper Association, Safeway Pharmacy

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Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital received a shipment of 230 doses of the Covid-19 vaccination on Dec. 16. Photo: screenshot

San Benito County residents who work in the agricultural and food industries can start signing up for Covid-19 vaccinations, but it might be a while before supplies are available for everyone who registers.

The county’s public health services department and the Grower Shipper Association of Central California (GSA) are teaming up with Safeway Pharmacy to administer Covid-19 vaccinations for food and agriculture sector workers who live or work in San Benito County, according to a Feb. 17 press release from the county. The program will initially be limited due to shortages in vaccine supply, but will immediately kick start “a concerted vaccination effort for these essential workers that provide a consistent food supply to consumers.”

Agricultural employers, interested stakeholders and individuals who fall under Phase 1B of the state’s Covid-19 vaccination plan can register for vaccinations through the county’s bilingual vaccine interest portal. Vaccinations are available only by appointment.

Vaccinations will be given regardless of immigration status, nor will such status be asked, the county noted in the press release.

“Providing vaccines to essential employees in the agriculture and food sector requires an all hands-on-deck approach, involving both the employer as well as employees to ensure an efficient administration,” said Christopher Valadez, GSA president. “We knew this would take coordination, so we began working with local health departments on vaccination systems a few weeks ago in anticipation of counties moving into Phase 1B.”

To secure vaccine delivery for employees in San Benito County:

-Food and agricultural employees can register through the County’s bilingual vaccine interest portal.

-When vaccines become available, GSA and Safeway Pharmacy will coordinate the scheduling of vaccine clinics.

Phase 1B individuals in the food and agriculture sector who have registered will be contacted, either directly or indirectly (through the employer, where corresponding information is listed), to schedule vaccination appointments, reads the county’s press release. 

The county’s Public Health Services department is also coordinating with the other eligible sectors in Phase 1B—emergency services, education, and childcare workers—to conduct vaccinations for their employees. “Public health will work directly with these sectors to assure efficient delivery of vaccinations,” says the county’s press release.  

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