ALBANY — Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced a new targeted effort to vaccinate workers at New York State farms and food production facilities. The state will coordinate with local health departments and Federally Qualified Health Centers to bring pop-up vaccination sites to workers, including migrant workers, at their places of employment.
The Governor also announced that as part of the new vaccination effort, New York State will provide 500 doses to Sun River Health, a local health care network, to administer to Angry Orchard employees, as well as farm and food production workers from other facilities in the Orange County area. Vaccines will be administered beginning Wednesday, April 21.
“As we continue to expand eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine and establish more pop-up sites to reach New Yorkers in underserved communities, it’s critical that we bring the vaccine to every part of the state, not just those with high populations. That’s why we’re making sure food production workers and farm workers in rural areas, including migrant workers, get vaccinated for COVID-19,” Governor Cuomo said. “This new effort to bring the vaccine directly to farmers and food production workers at their places of employment is an important step forward to reaching a population that lives in more remote parts of the state. COVID remains a threat to all of us, but we have the weapon that will win the war — we just need to make sure it’s available to everyone who is eligible across New York.”
Sun River Health Chief Executive Officer Anne Kauffman Nolon, MPH, said, “We are thrilled to support Governor Cuomo in providing access to the COVID-19 vaccines for New York State’s agricultural workers. These individuals grow and harvest the food on our tables. The vast majority of New York’s essential food production goes on year-round, and much of this work is done indoors. Working with growers and our community partners to overcome the barriers to vaccine access for this vital part of our community is a big step forward in bringing an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
New York Farm Bureau State Director Chris Kelder said, “Farm workers are essential to the success of agriculture and to feeding millions of New York’s consumers, from St. Lawrence County to Manhattan. It is critical that workers have ongoing access to COVID-19 vaccines to ensure their health and safety as they do their work. Access to vaccines has been the leading priority of New York Farm Bureau and farmers from across the state. We appreciate Governor Cuomo highlighting the importance of this issue and we appreciate Sun River Health, and health care professionals across New York, for their efforts to vaccinate farmworkers.”
The effort to vaccinate food production workers and farmworkers builds on New York’s efforts to combat food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic. The FY 2022 Enacted Budget adds $50 million to Nourish New York for a total $85 million investment to extend the program through 2021. This critical program helps people who are food insecure access the nourishment that they need, leveraging the vast agricultural industry of New York State to connect food banks and providers to purchase locally grown and produced food.
Since the Governor launched Nourish NY at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020, 21 million pounds of surplus agricultural products have been purchased from New York farmers and delivered to more than 1.3 million households in need across New York State. Purchasing and food distribution using this third round of funding — which was first announced during the Governor’s 2021 State of the State Address — are currently underway.
Rural & Migrant Ministry Executive Director Reverend Richard Witt said, “It is important for all of us involved in the food system: farmworkers, farmers, consumers, the health system and the State continue to work diligently to ensure that farmworkers are protected and vaccinated. Today’s announcement is a critical step forward.”
Rural & Migrant Ministry Catskill Regional Coordinator Juanita Sarmiento said, “I have seen first hand, while translating and helping our local rural and migrant communities with testing and vaccines, the impact of this pandemic. We need to continue to uphold not only the efforts to keep New York healthy but to establish an accessible educational campaign on the importance of the vaccination and testing efforts. I’m glad to see us take these steps forward.”
–The Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
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