Ventura County pushes to help agricultural workers get access to the vaccine

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Provided by the CDC

By Andrea Lopez

The Ventura County Board of Supervisors Friday’s COVID-19 Press Conference began with Supervisor Carmen Ramirez at Good Farms in Oxnard, CA. The Conference was held at the farm where a little over of 100 essential farmworkers were able to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.

The vaccination has been presented as the way our community will be able to come back to health. While most people have been out of work and in quarantine during the pandemic, farmworkers have continued to work daily and “provide the food we have on our table,” Ramirez explained.

Due to the first phase, farmworkers are not able to be administered the vaccine. However, public health leaders are aware of how crucial it is for agricultural workers to have access to the vaccine and have agreed to administer the vaccine for some of them.

Farmworkers face barriers everyday due to lack of translation, transportation, lack of resources and lack of support. All in the midst of providing families and restaurants food, according to Rosa Gonzalez, County Community Liason. Gonzalez spoke about the vaccine team involved, which includes Public Health, Farmworker Resource Program and Ad-Commissioner.

These resources “are not only providing vaccines but also information on resources available and how we can support farmworkers families,” Gonzalez said.

As of Feb. 22, 158,225 doses of the vaccine have been administered. According to County Executive Officer, Mike Powers, with that number, 15.3% of Ventura County have received a first dose. While vaccinations are still limited, Powers strongly ensured “we get it, we give it.”

While the weather has been scarce in parts of the country, it was also ensured that appointments for the vaccine were made to what is available.

“(Close to) 3,000 appointments will be open on Monday, and we will have second dose appointments continue to be available,” Said Powers.

The county is preparing to enter the next phase of vaccinations beginning March 1, which will include essential workers, adding about 100,000 people to be vaccinated.

“That is a lot of people with still a limited supply, so it’s going to take time,” reminded Powers.

New sites for the vaccine have been made available in Oxnard on Rose Avenue, Nordoff High School in Ojai and Ventura Office of Education in Camarillo. An additional location in Santa Paula will be available in March.

Current available vaccination sites remain at Ventura County Fairgrounds, Center Point Mall and 15 pharmacy partners throughout the county.

Over the past weeks, COVID-19 cases “continue doing well” and numbers continue to improve, Public Health Director Rigoberto Vargas shared. As of Feb. 22, there was a report of 344 new COVID-19 cases and 29 people currently in ICU.

As the case rate continues to decrease to 25 cases per 100,000 people, all elementary schools will be allowed to open as long as the case rate continues to hold. Openings of elementary schools can be allowed to open as early as next week.

For more information on COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccination visit https://www.venturacountyrecovers.org/