Congressmembers Costa and Panetta Call on Governor Newsom to Prioritize Vaccine Equity for Farmworkers

Feb 9, 2021
Press Release

(FRESNO) – Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) along with California Representatives Jimmy Panetta (D-20), led a group of California Congressional members in a letter to Governor Newsom to ensure outreach to farmworkers as part of the State of California’s Phase 1B distribution plan for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The letter requests a robust educational campaign, including linguistically accessible and culturally appropriate resources, to ensure these essential workers feel secure in seeking out and accepting the vaccine.  The letter also acknowledges that all levels of government must work together to protect the agricultural communities that have suffered disproportionately from the virus.

"As vaccines are distributed across our state, we must ensure everyone has access to a vaccine that needs it. Our essential farmworkers are no exception," said Costa.  "I’ve been working hard to increase vaccinations in the San Joaquin Valley and this is an important part of that effort.  I’m hopeful the state will adapt its allocations to quickly protect these workers."
“As we endure this pandemic, Central Coast farmworkers have continued to show up to work despite the risk, do their job, and play a vital role in putting food on our tables,” said Congressman Panetta.  “As many farmworkers follow the harvest and flow back into our agriculture communities, the State of California must take into account the increased numbers to ensure proper vaccine distribution.  We are asking the State to work closely with us and our local communities so that there are enough vaccines and educational resources for everyone, especially our essential agricultural workers, to get vaccinated.  Although farmworkers continue to do the hard work necessary for our food security, all of us must work together so that they can do it safely and our communities can get on the road to recovery.   

“Our food and farm workers in the Central Valley are on the frontlines of feeding the nation.  We’ve called them essential workers for a year now, and it’s time they get the protection they deserve,” said Congressman Josh Harder.

“The Central Coast knows how essential our farm workers are.  Throughout this pandemic, they have worked hard to provide for their families and put food on our tables, often at great personal cost and risk," said Rep. Salud Carbajal.  "As we contend with harmful rhetoric and distrust around the vaccine, it is crucial that we conduct a robust education and outreach effort to ensure farm workers and other food workers feel safe and secure receiving the vaccine which will help keep them, their families, and their communities safe."

A copy of the letter can be found here.