FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- They're a critical link in the food chain, bringing the Valley's bounty to tables nationwide. Yet, the agricultural worker community is easily the most at risk when it comes to COVID-19.
"Latinos are most likely to get COVID and die from it, so we know the risk is very high and we know many of our Latinos are essential workers," says Latino Community Foundation Program Manager Adriana Saldivar.
Saldivar says they're working with organizations, including the California Farmworker Association, to increase the Latino vaccination rate in farmworker communities statewide.
"We want to make sure it gets to them and that it's available and accessible in the Valley," she said.
They've reached out to county leaders to bring vaccines to farm worksites.
"We want them, when it comes to vaccine allocations and equity target, to take into consideration the individuals that never stopped working during this pandemic," says Hernan Herndez with the California Farmworker Foundation.
Accessibility and supply only make up half the battle. Fears and uncertainty surrounding testing and vaccinations are creating an additional barrier.
"When we first started testing, the questions were so profound and so invasive to the point that a lot of farmworkers didnt want to partake in it and we're seeing that today with the COVID-19 vaccine," Herndez said.
Latinos make up less than 40% of California's population but account for 55% of the state's COVID-19 cases.
Fresno County has developed a pilot vaccination program that they say is well-received thanks to business, clinical and community partners, including the Latino Community Foundation.
With roughly 70-90,000 ag workers in Fresno county, the health department plans to build on that distribution system.
For more information, visit the Latino Community Foundation's website.
Organization working to vaccinate more Latinos in Valley agriculture