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County Public Health Officer visits east valley farmworkers to address pandemic concerns

Dr. Geoffrey Leung, Riverside County's Public Health Officer, paid a visit to the east valley to answer farmworkers' questions about vaccine booster shots.

Approximately 40 farmworkers in Thermal joined Leung during their lunch break. 

"We know that trust is important and we don't establish that trust people won't get their vaccines," Leung said.

Everyone in the group already had their two doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Leung says they are high-risk workers and therefore qualify for a booster shot.

"Without our agricultural workers, we wouldn't be able to feed our community," Leung said.

Antonio Perez, a local farmworker, said he thought about his friends and asked if they should mix and match COVID-19 vaccines.

"They're very knowledgeable and it gives us confidence and they answer all the questions we make," Perez said.

Leung says it's a common question.

"Some of the common questions is that I received Moderna or Johnson, but right now it's only for Pfizer," Leung said.

Before arriving in the east valley, Leung, along with the non-profit TODEC, paid a visit to 15 workers at another nearby field where cabbage is harvested. On the mind of many here - when should they get booster shots?

In Spanish, he answered, "You have to wait six months."

He explained that after six months, the efficacy of the vaccine drops.

Leung said his visit was about raising awareness by connecting with people face-to-face.

"It seems like a small thing, but if people have trust and that relationship, that could mean saving a life," Leung said.

According to the county, more than 90% of farmworkers are fully vaccinated.

Luz Gallegos, director of TODEC, said she hopes the farmworker who met Leung can help spread the word about vaccines before COVID claims another life.

"We're bringing the source to the community. We wanna the to feel that they have that support and information they need to make that educated choice," Gallegos said.

Visit rivcoph.org/COVID-19-Vaccine to schedule an appointment for a vaccine dose or a booster shot.

At this time, Riverside County is only providing a dose of the Pfizer vaccine booster shot for the following eligible residents:

  • 65 and over
  • Residents of long-term care facilities
  • 18 to 64 with underlying medical conditions
  • 18 to 64 with high institutional or occupational risk, including healthcare workers, first responders, teachers/day care staff, grocery workers, and workers in homeless shelters or prisons

Every Thursday, Leung answers residents' COVID vaccine questions on the Riverside University Health System - Public Health's Facebook page.

Public Health Vaccine Update 10.14.21.mp4 from RUHS Public Health on Vimeo.

Stay with News Channel 3 for continuing coverage on vaccine boosters in the Coachella Valley

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Marco Revuelta

Marco Revuelta es un reportero para Telemundo 15. Lo puedes mirar de Lunes a Viernes a las 6 y 11 de la noche. Conoce mas a Marco aquí.

KESQ News Team

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