Thousands of Central Valley farm workers are getting the COVID-19 vaccine over weekends in March and April at the farm worker movement’s historic “Forty Acres” property just west of Delano. Vaccination clinics are operating through a partnership between the United Farm Workers, UFW Foundation, Kern County Latino COVID-19 Task Force, Kern County, Kern Medical Center and the César Chávez Foundation, which owns and manages the grounds.
Event partners continue encouraging farm workers to call the bilingual toll-free call centers of UFW Foundation (661-501-4280) and the Latino COVID task force’s Project Abuelita (661-525-5900) for appointments to get their shots. They are being administered at the Forty Acres by staff from Kern Medical Center that is also handling check-in and administration. It is all being supported by Kern County, the farm worker movement and the Latino COVID task force.
Vaccinations are open to all farm workers 18 years and older at no charge. No health insurance is required. No doctor’s note or order is needed.
Farm workers have turned to the Forty Acres with for assistance since the 1960s. The 40-acre site includes the spacious Reuther Hall where vaccination personnel will set up shop. Workers and other Latinos have regularly visited the Forty Acres during the pandemic for distribution of large quantities of emergency food and face masks.
“This event straddles the history of the Forty Acres and the changing issues faced by farm workers today,” states UFW President Teresa Romero. “Here, once again on sacred ground for the farm worker movement, a life-saving intervention against a cruel opponent is made possible by collaboration and solidarity. ¡Sí se puede!”
“Apart from being a site that has witnessed many historic events, my father’s vision for the Forty Acres was as a place that would always serve the needs of farm workers,” said Paul F. Chávez, President, César Chávez Foundation. “It has recently been used to help people fight the ravages of the coronavirus by supplying food and face masks. Now it is fitting that farm workers are coming to the Forty Acres to be vaccinated against COVID-19.”
“These hard-working individuals are essential workers, especially in the Central Valley,” said Jay Tamsi, co-founder of the Kern County Latino COVID-19 Task Force. “Throughout this pandemic, they didn’t have the option to work from home, social distance in the fields or have other luxuries that so many of us did. It’s finally time to give them the best resource, the COVID-19 vaccine, to ensure their health is priority.”
“Kern Medical is very proud to partner with the UFW, UFW Foundation, César Chávez Foundation and Kern County Latino COVID-19 Task Force to deliver the potential lifesaving COVID vaccine to those who labor to provide food for all of our families,” said Kern Medical Center CEO Russell Judd. “We are grateful to the County of Kern for the funding and are proud of our partnership with the county, providing a mechanism to use mobile clinics to take the vaccine to the people. The mobile clinic will be an efficient and high quality way to deliver the COVID vaccine to the far reaches of Kern County.”
“The men and women who feed América have been risking their lives on the frontlines of the pandemic for a year now,” observed UFW Foundation Executive Director Diana Tellefson Torres. “These vaccines could not come soon enough. Not only are farm workers more likely to be infected with COVID-19, but they are also most likely to die from it. That’s why this partnership providing thousands of lifesaving vaccines for farm workers who need it the most is critically important. We will continue working with different partners to make the vaccines accessible to more farm worker communities across the nation.”
In addition, a collaboration between UFW Foundation and World Central Kitchen will distribute 3,800 meals freshly-prepared by Delano restaurants each weekend for farm workers during vaccination events. World Central Kitchen is an organization that uses the power of food to nourish communities and strengthen economies in times of crisis and beyond.
Schedule for vaccination clinics providing the first round of shots at the Forty Acres (times are subject to change): Saturday, March 27, 1-7 p.m.; Sunday, March 28, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and a Special event, César Chávez birthday, Wednesday, March 31, 4-7 p.m.
Details on the second round of vaccinations will follow; go to ufw.org.
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