Ag company coordinates vaccinations for 2,100 workers, community members

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- AC Brands, like many employers across California, was affected in no small way by COVID-19.

In response to the deadly virus, the large agriculture company scaled up its PPE supply and provided on-site testing for workers.

A COVID-19 task force was also created, which most recently, organized on-site vaccinations for employees.

"The approach was pretty simple," AC Brands Farming V.P. Vincent Sorena said. "Try to get your hands on as many vaccines as you possibly could and fill the demand after you get the supply."

It wasn't easy, but Sorena says they were finally able to secure vaccines through partnerships with Family Healthcare Network and Albertsons Pharmacy.

As part of the effort, an astonishing 2,100 people in Kern and Tulare Counties were vaccinated in the span of about a week.

It wasn't just AC employees.

Temporary agency and farm labor contractor workers, as well as community members, also got the shot.

"Very early on, we acknowledged that we're not trying to solve a company problem," Sorena said. "We're trying to solve a community problem, which is access to vaccines."

Another priority, according to Sorena, was dispelling any doubts about the vaccine's safety or effectiveness.

To help ease minds and encourage vaccinations, he says the company identified trusted ambassadors at different worksites.

"We wanted to focus on trust and not focus on the title," Sorena explained. "So we went through all the different businesses, identified trusted ambassadors, trained those trusted ambassadors around our frequently asked questions that we created, and then released them into the operation so that they could engage and have those one-on-one conversations with individuals."

Second doses will be distributed in early April.

After that, AC Brands will reassess supply, demand, and think about how they can continue to serve the Central Valley's agricultural community.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.