Grant County Expects Vaccination Rush With Ag Worker Eligibility

Mar 22, 2021

The Grant County Health District expects to be active in vaccinating farm workers and food processing employees for Covid.
Credit Courtesy of Grant County Health District

Many older people in Washington have now been vaccinated for Covid and attention has turned to other groups. Now that agricultural employees, both food processors and field workers, are eligible for shots, one central Washington health district expects to be especially busy over the next few weeks.

Public health officials, such as Theresa Adkinson from the Grant County Health District, are strategizing how to get the vaccine to them.
 
“When Covid hit us last March, the clinics started reaching out to the farms to be able to provide education on site about hand washing and what is this virus and what does it mean for them, working and sleeping and living in these facilities. They did a fantastic job. They started at Walmart when the buses would come in to buy their supplies to actually going on site," she said.
 
With those relationships already built, Adkinson says it should be easier to get vaccinations done, using mobile clinics. The health district vaccinated people at one event in Quincy last weekend and she says pop-up clinics are planned at farms and orchards.

“It’s only been open for a short time and not all of the workers are here yet, but we’re not seeing the level of vaccine hesitancy that we were concerned about,” she said.
 
Adkinson says the health district has reached out with messaging to the local Spanish-language radio stations to let them know that vaccinations are available.
 
At the same time, she says, the agency is also encouraging people to continue with the usual public health strategies. She says the number of the children and young adults contracting the virus in Grant County has increased over the last week or two.