Valley restaurant, grocery store workers can get the COVID vaccine starting next week

The wait is just about over for more essential workers to get in line for vaccination.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Essential workers are moving from the checkout line to the front of the vaccine line.

More farm and food workers, including grocery store employees, will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine starting next week.

For Shannon Houston of Tower Health Foods, she says the news is a huge relief.

Throughout the pandemic, Houston says they stayed busy providing health to the community in the form of vitamins and nourishment.

Now, she says her own health can be a priority so she can return to helping others.

"You see hundreds of people, you talk to them, you're rolling the dice. I think it's important people feel safer at work," she says.

Fresno County public health officials on Tuesday announced they were expanding the pool of people eligible to sign up for a vaccine as they're allotted more doses.

This week, the county is expected to receive about 21,000 doses, and they'll go to more than those in the farm and food production sectors.

"Food and ag includes our restaurant workers, grocery workers as well. You'll see our clinic sites open up to those populations next week," says Fresno County Public Health Division Manager Joe Prado.

Charles Chang, the manager of Central Fish in downtown Fresno, says he's excited to not only get the vaccine for himself but that his employees will feel safer coming to work.

"We have employees on furlough that were waiting to get vaccinated to come back because they love working here but don't feel safe with the amount of traffic coming in," he says.

Officials with the California Grocers Association say they've been fighting to get grocery workers to the front of the line, and are helping some locations get approved to turn them into distribution sites.

Those who are eligible can check their status and make an appointment on the state's MyTurn website.

According to the state's criteria, eligible workers include those in pharmacies, convenience stores, or other retail stores that sell food or beverage products.
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