Latinx Farmworkers Risk Their Lives During Pandemic. Many Now Struggle to Access Vaccines

There are about 2.5 million farmworkers around the U.S., many of them undocumented immigrants working under dangerous and exploitive circumstances without sick leave or healthcare. Despite their status as essential workers, however, many farmworkers are facing an uphill battle to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Estella Cisneros, legal director of the Agricultural Worker Program for California Rural Legal Assistance, says an uneven rollout in California as well as technical barriers have left many farmworkers unvaccinated. “There’s been a lot of inequities that we’ve seen,” she says. We also speak with Mary Jo Dudley, director of the Cornell Farmworker Program, who says it’s “puzzling” that farmworkers in New York state were left out of the current phase of vaccine distribution “at a time when we’ve seen an increasing number of COVID cases among the farmworker population.”

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