Local advocates push for CA farmworkers to receive some of first COVID-19 vaccines

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- While health officials prepare to store a coronavirus vaccine, California leaders are working to determine who will be the first to receive it.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has said that the vaccine will be distributed in phases, with healthcare workers, people in assisted living and nursing facilities and first responders being in the first group.

Some local advocates are pushing for farmworkers to be apart of the first phase also.

The state has invited the United Farm Workers (UFW) foundation to sit on the Community Vaccine Advisory Committee. The group will determine which essential workers will be the first in line to get vaccinated based on risk and community exposure.

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Phase 1A will be reserved for healthcare workers, but now the discussion is turning to Phase 1B.

"Our next meeting will be dedicated to that 1B to discuss how to prioritize who should be in 1B. What are the elements the state should focus on to determine who is going to receive a vaccine first," said UFW executive director Diana Tellefson.

There are 800,000 farmworkers currently working across the state of California.

RELATED: CA building vaccine distribution framework, but mass vaccination still months away

A recent study out of Monterey County found farmworkers are three times as likely to contract COVID-19 as workers in other industries.

Meanwhile, the state is waiting for the FDA to approve one of three vaccines that have shown promising results during their clinical trials.

California has three committees that will review COVID-19 vaccines, and so far they have not found any issues with the current vaccine trials for Pfizer and Moderna.

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