Push underway to get farm workers vaccinated against COVID-19

Updated: Apr. 14, 2021 at 7:16 AM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a plan Tuesday to make it easier for farm workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We have to get the vaccines in arms,” the governor said.

The goal is to bring shots to rural areas directly to rural areas.

“We’ll bring the vaccination site to you,” Cuomo said, “and we’re going to start mobile vaccination sites.”

Jay Matteson, the Jefferson County agricultural coordinator, says it’s too soon to say where and when these sites will take place. That will be a local decision.

But Matteson says this plan will help farm workers who have been waiting a while for the vaccine.

“We had farms calling us,” he said. “They were very frustrated. I talked to a farm today, their farm workers have been wanting to get the vaccinations, but we were just - we’ve been waiting for guidance.”

Matteson says the goal is to administer Johnson and Johnson vaccines since it’s only one dose. But with J&J shots on pause in New York and several other states, Matteson says that it is a speed bump.

“So that’s going to slow us down temporarily,” Matteson. “Hopefully, that’ll get resolved quickly or we’ll look at one of the other vaccines and help get that rolled out to the community.”

Richard Stup of Cornell University says getting farm workers vaccinated is important, not only because they are essential workers, but to keep the local economy flowing.

“But it’s the people in the community, it’s the people in the hardware store, it’s the insurance agency,” Stup said. “All those folks have a lot of business and a lot of economic impact from working with the farms and agriculture in the community.”

Matteson says that farm workers who are interested should reach out to either Cornell Cooperative Extension or Jefferson County Public Health Service for more information.

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