SANTA ROSA, Calif., Feb. 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — As efforts to vaccinate essential agricultural and production workers struggle to proceed throughout California and the nation, Sonoma County’s farmers, vintners and health communities have been successfully partnering to get thousands of COVID-19 vaccination doses to these essential workers throughout the region.
Now entering its 5th week of operation, the program has already vaccinated and scheduled vaccination appointments for more than 8,300 essential workers from Sonoma County’s agriculture, vineyard, food, and winery sectors. The target for essential ag and production workers receiving vaccination in Sonoma County is 12,500. The vaccination program and collaboration will continue for the foreseeable future.
“This effort in Sonoma County should be the model for the nation in how to organize and vaccinate essential ag and production workers,” said Dr. Jason Cunningham, Chief Executive Officer at West County Health Centers. He added, “We have succeeded because of the tremendous collaboration throughout the community from people and organizations who share one focus to quickly and efficiently immunize our essential food and agricultural workers to reduce their risk of becoming ill.”
The program is a cooperative effort involving the Sonoma County Winegrowers, the Sonoma County Vintners, the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, local community health centers including the West County Health Center, the Sonoma Valley Health Center, the Alliance Medical Center, the Alexander Valley Health Care, and the Sonoma County Medical Association. Each agricultural group has a specific responsibility: the Winegrowers work with the local winegrape farmers; the Vintners work with local wineries; and the Sonoma County Farm Bureau works with non-wine related farmers and ag processors. Farmers, vintners, and processors have been receiving regular updates from their representative organization to provide the number of people they employ, where they reside or work in the county and their transportation needs.
Each week, Community Health Centers throughout Sonoma County commit a certain number of vaccines to vaccinate essential ag and production workers against the Coronavirus pandemic. Every day, it is up to the industry partners to coordinate with the ag and production employers to organize and schedule appointments for the workers and ensure that all the vaccines are being utilized. Each of the ag partner organizations is contributing staff, providing translators, and donating additional resources to make this effort successful. In addition, the Sonoma County Medical Association and its vast network of local volunteers dedicated two full days to vaccinating vineyard workers and…