Booker Leads Senators in Urging Biden Administration to Ensure Vaccine Access for Farm and Food Chain Workers
Farm and food chain workers have been excluded from some states?vaccine eligibility guidelines?
February 17, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. ?Today, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, led a letter sent to the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients urging the Biden Administration to take action to expand vaccine access for farm and food chain workers.
The letter comes in the wake of some state and local governments excluding farm and food chain workers from the first phases of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility.
揂s the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, we have seen COVID-19 sicken thousands of frontline farm and food chain workers while hundreds have lost their lives,?the senators wrote to the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients. 揟his includes independent farmers and ranchers, farmworkers, food processing workers, and last-mile food workers in grocery stores and restaurants. These workers are disproportionately from low-income and immigrant communities, shedding light on the exacerbated issue of long-standing racial and ethnic disparities we continue to witness. And while these workers are critical to keeping our food system working, little has been done to keep them safe.?/p>
揟he Biden Administration inherited a patchwork vaccine distribution process, and this coupled with limited doses has created a system rooted in inequity, frustration, and uncertainty. Current recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) call for the vaccination of 搉on-health care frontline essential workers敆which would include grocery store, meatpacking plant, and food processing and agriculture workers梚n Phase 1b. However, as states and other jurisdictions continue to implement their specific distribution plans, we are seeing both the exclusion of farm and food chain workers in some states and last minute changes in others,?the senators continued.
揂s the Biden Administration continues to develop and implement its COVID-19 vaccine distribution strategy, we encourage you to address the specific needs of our farm and food chain workers and support states and other jurisdictions in ensuring the swift vaccination of these workers,?the senators wrote.
This letter was also signed by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Alex Padilla (D-CA).
The full text of the letter can be found here and below...