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Farmworkers, Commissioner Fried Ask Gov. DeSantis For More Vaccine Sites for Agricultural Workers

Photo: Anaya Katlego
Photo: Anaya Katlego

At a roundtable hosted by Commissioner Nikki Fried today, Florida farmworkers called on Gov. Ron DeSantis to open more vaccine sites in the rural areas where they live and work.

Among the agricultural workers who called on the DeSantis administration to do more to make vaccines accessible to farmworkers was Cristina. 

Speaking in Spanish, Cristina, a single mother of three from Mexico, says she picks vegetables at a farm in Homestead where she got sick with COVID.

She says her coworkers also got sick and some died from the virus, illustrating the need for more mobile vaccine clinics in rural areas that are staffed by healthcare providers who speak Spanish and other native Central and South American languages.  

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She says her work is essential to the Florida economy and she has the right a COVID vaccine.

Immokalee farmworker Guadalupe "Lupe" Gonzalo says along with more mobile vaccine clinics, the state needs to partner with community leaders to alleviate vaccine hesitancy. 

Speaking in Spanish, Gonzalo says a mobile clinic in Immokalee has started to vaccinate hundreds of workers which has already helped get more shots in arms.

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She says DeSantis’ vaccine plan was not equitable in how it distributed vaccines.

Commissioner Fried says she’s working closely with Vice President Kamala Harris and FEMA to set up more mobile clinics that would operate out of buses in agricultural communities. 

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.