TUCSON— Today, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva led 35 Members of Congress in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky urging them to facilitate a summer campaign to increase the vaccination rate within the rural farmworker community through a collaboration between the CDC, states, localities, and Migrant and Seasonal Head Start network. Farmworkers have historically faced numerous health disparities and were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Farmworker communities are the backbone of our food supply and have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to ensure that we have food on our grocery store shelves and on our table,” said Rep. Grijalva. “By working with MSHS, we can bring resources directly to farmworkers through an entity that has cultivated close relationship with farmworkers and their families. Through this partnership, we can ensure that all farmworkers and their families receive access to lifesaving vaccines.”
“To ensure the American food chain remains safe, secure, and timely, the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association stands united with the Biden/Harris Administration to make sure the farmworker community is vaccinated,” said Cleo Rodriguez, Jr., Executive Director, National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association. “We value the important role farmworkers play in the American economy and look forward to activating the trusted relationships that exists between the Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs and the farmworker community to elevate our vaccine efforts.”
“Coordination between the CDC, the NMSHSA, and the network of MSHS programs is needed to direct federal, state, and local COVID-19 vaccination resources to farmworkers and their families,” the members wrote. “We are requesting the direction of mobile vaccination clinics, and the establishment of onsite vaccination clinics at MSHS sites over the summer in these rural, agriculturally rich communities. This will help ensure maximum access and successful vaccination of this critical portion of the agricultural workforce.
“The NMSHSA will work with the network of individual MSHS programs and health partners to enhance outreach efforts to make these sites a success,” continued the Members. “We are asking HHS to act swiftly and decisively in launching this effort with the goal of successfully reaching a 75% vaccination rate among farmworker families by September 30, 2021.”
Click here to read the full letter.