Mass vaccination event held for food & ag workers in Tulare County

They handle the food we put on our table and have never taken a break during the pandemic.
TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Five lanes were used for a drive-through vaccination at the International Agri-Center in Tulare.

Many of these food and ag workers have seen people around them become infected with COVID.

"Actually yes, in the last I would say, couple of months, more than a handful that I know of," says UC Davis Tulare Lab Microbiologist Karen Tonooka.

Not only do the shots offer protection against the deadly virus, but they also offer peace of mind for over 1,000 essential workers who received their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

They say it now feels safer to return to work.

We saw a few COVID outbreaks at food processing plants last year in Tulare County. Over 100 employees were infected at Ruiz Foods in Dinuba.

"Last week, we coordinated with Ruiz Foods and vaccinated over 800 of their employees at their location," says Carrie Monteiro.

Tulare County will also start sending out strike teams to directly vaccinate workers at farms since it may be difficult for them to leave work.

Many people see the site of the World Ag Expo as an ideal place for the state to open another vaccination hub.

"It's a shame we didn't have the farm show but in reality, we're using it for another venue so important, so it's good," Tonooka said.

"We are not using this facility to its full potential," Monteiro said. "We have the ability and we're hoping that the state and federal and state government come to Tulare to be able to have a regional vaccination clinic."

Another round of COVID-19 vaccinations will be administered here next week.
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