A COVID-19 vaccination clinic for farmworker employees is being held at Anthony Vineyards in Coachella this week. Two more clinics will be held on Friday in the communities of Oasis and Thermal, per a county spokesperson.
Anthony Vineyards is a grape growing and shipping company based in the east valley. This week, Monday-Thursday, employees can get a COVID-19 vaccine free of charge.
The clinic is a joint effort on behalf of Riverside County, the Desert Healthcare District and other community-based organizations such as TODEC Legal Center and El Sol.
Dr. Conrado Bárzaga, CEO of the Desert Healthcare District, says the district hopes to launch more east valley clinics like this in the future. He explains that by offering vaccines on site, more essential workers will be encouraged to take part.
“Instead of creating an event that might be far away from where they live and work, we’re bringing vaccines to them in the packing houses, in the fields, where they work and live...where it’s easier for them,” he said.
Ricardo Magana, a seasonal worker for Anthony Vineyards and student, got vaccinated on Monday morning along with his parents who are also employees of the company. “The process is really good. It’s easy,” he said.
He says clinics like this will play an essential part in his community, in which many don’t have access to the internet or basic education about coronavirus.
“Overall, people might be scared because they don’t really know what’s in it. They’re not informed. Maybe it’s different for me because I go to school. But these workers are not really informed and some are scared to get it.”
Approximately 1,700 vaccines will be distributed this week at Anthony Vineyards and two other east valley locations, according to Yaoska Machado, a Public Information Specialist with Riverside County.
“In the last 2-3 weeks we’ve been trying to reach the farm worker community in the Coachella Valley because they are essential workers and throughout this pandemic, they haven’t stopped working regardless of how exposed they might be to coronavirus,” she said.
Machado says they’ll be releasing information about the Friday vaccine clinics in Thermal and Oasis soon.