As efforts continue in farm country to protect Ag workers from COVID-19, Douglas Fruit held a mass vaccination event Friday at their Pasco area warehouse. Lindsey Peonio said the one day event was open for all Douglas Fruit and Douglas Ag Services employees. She noted the want to provide a safe environment for their workers, so they were excited to hold the mass vaccination event.
“We do bring in workers from Mexico under the H-2A visa program, and so we currently have 240 of those workers here and we house them in farm workers housing, and they are in close quarters so it’s really important that they are able to work and live here safely. So to be able to provide them the vaccination is a huge deal to us and we’re extremely thankful.”
Peonio added the event will also help them conduct business more efficiently into 2021. She said to this point, every worker that’s been offered the shot has taken it, which is very encouraging. Peonio added from the very start of the vaccination process, well before farm workers were eligible for the shot, Douglas Fruit was very proactive by having frequent, honest, open communication about the vaccination and when workers would be eligible.
“Even when we were unsure and we didn’t know what was going on, so I think that laid some groundwork for the good response you see here. And also, we had a pretty good group of workers who on their own went and got vaccinations other places as soon as we became eligible and that word of mouth spread. You know, when you see your coworker and they got it and there’s no reaction or things you’re hearing, that kind of helped.”
She acknowledged there has been some hesitancy to receive the vaccine, but the company stance is vaccination is a personal choice. Above all Peonio said they just want workers to be safe.
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