Sun-Maid employees feel relief after receiving COVID vaccine

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Wooden bins normally filled with Sun-Maid raisins instead guided cars through a drive-through vaccination clinic in Kingsburg.

"It's a huge relief for the workforce," says Carlos Martinez. "Kind of the light at the end of a tunnel. I feel this second dose is really, we're at the end of the tunnel."

Sun-Maid employees who saw co-workers, family and friends get sick during the pandemic were relieved to receive their second dose of the Moderna vaccine.

"It's a tremendous opportunity for us to be able to provide, I'll say, a blanket of safety and comfort for our employees," says CEO Harry Overly.

Staff from United Health Centers administered shots to about 800 Sun-Maid growers, workers and family members.

Overly noticed the smiles and the sense of relief among those who came out.

The mood was much different last year in the workplace.

"Everybody was scared at that time and we were getting a lot of questions and our position was 'hey, we're going to be as transparent as we can. We're telling you every time we know we may have a COVID case.'"

Sun-Maid set up satellite offices during the pandemic. Several staffers worked remotely from home, so they were glad just to be able to see co-workers again.

"I definitely do think there is a bit more of a sense of normalcy in the offices and in the field," Martinez said. "Just in the stuff we do day-to-day. We're definitely going to keep precautionary measures in place."

The shots also come at a good time with the raisin crop starting to form on vines.

"The big moment for us is going to be coming into fall harvest time, so it's good to get a lot of this out of the way and get people thinking about coming back to normal life prior to this fall's harvest," Martinez said.

Sun-Maid now looks forward to getting more products out, including their new "bites," which come in flavors such as S'mores and banana split.
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