MORGAN HILL (CBS SF) -- Santa Clara County health officials expanded their COVID-19 vaccination efforts Sunday, bringing a mobile unit to Monterey Mushrooms, a large agricultural employer in Morgan Hill.
The goal was to vaccinate as many as 1,000 farmworkers on Sunday and also on Wednesday. Workers receiving vaccinations will include employees of Monterey Mushrooms as well as other area farms.
"Protecting people at greatest risk from COVID-19 is our top priority and our path out of the pandemic," said Dr. Sara Cody, health officer and director of Public Health for Santa Clara County. "This is our first big mobile popup, where we need to come to where people are and reach them."
The mobile clinic is just the latest effort by county officials to make vaccinations easily available to local residents hardest hit by the virus.
Of Santa Clara County's 110,423 COVID cases since the outbreak began a year ago, 51 percent have been in the Latino community.
Last week, county health officials open two vaccination sites in East San Jose. They also announced on Friday that county has administered nearly 177,000 first doses and nearly 60,000 second doses. An additional 60,000 appointments have been scheduled over the next seven days.
The Monterey Mushrooms farm site was opened in partnership with the United Farm Workers.
"Farm workers face heightened threats to their health and safety every day as essential laborers," said UFW Foundation executive director Diana Tellefson-Torres. "That's why this partnership to provide life-saving vaccines for 1,000 farm workers is so critically important. Farm workers want to get vaccinated but the majority of them don't have access to the vaccines."
"Up until now, it's been a challenge to get counties to actually start to trigger the farm worker priority," Tellefson-Torres added. "Santa Clara County is showing us how it needs to be done throughout the state."
Mario Martinez Francisco leaves his family in Hollister every day to harvest mushrooms. He happily got his shot Sunday, saying it makes him feel more confident.
"I do this for me and for my wife and for my co-workers," he said, "for everybody, I think, not only for my family. It's for everybody."
More information about COVID-19 vaccination in Santa Clara County can be found on the County's website at www.sccfreevax.org, with content available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Tagalog, or by calling 211 where assistance is available in multiple languages.
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