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Bringing Vaccinations Directly to Essential Farmworker Communities

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Photo by Omar Omelas/USA Today Network

Funding from PHI's Together Toward Health has been instrumental in providing additional resources and staffing to eight local community-based organizations which are part of the Desert Healthcare District-led Coachella Valley Equity Collaborative. Thanks to this support, the Collaborative is hosting vaccination clinics directly in the Valley's farmworker communties, providing protection to several hundred farmworkers a day.

1.75K farmworkers vaccinated in one week

We appreciate your and PHI’s support in the District's efforts to bring much needed COVID-19 education, testing, and vaccinations to underserved community members of the Coachella Valley, specifically farmworkers and their families. Alejandro Espinoza, Program Officer and Director of Outreach, Desert Healthcare District Clinic and Foundation

In Riverside County’s eastern Coachella Valley, as many as 8000 agricultural workers gather the food eaten in California and across the country; their labor has made it possible for many others to stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic. While these essential workers rank high in California’s vaccine priority tiers, reaching them has been a challenge.

Most speak primarily Spanish or indigenous languages; many don’t have cars or even computers. They may not be able to take time off from the jobs and income they rely on, or navigate the complex and lengthy sign-up processes necessary to qualify.

Now, thanks in part to support from PHI’s Together Toward Health, the vaccines are coming to them.

Together Toward Health funding from PHI has been instrumental in providing additional resources and staffing to eight local community-based organizations which are part of the Desert Healthcare District-led Coachella Valley Equity Collaborative. Thanks to this support, the Collaborative is hosting vaccination clinics directly in the Valley’s farmworker communities, providing protection to several hundred farmworkers in a day. Working with the TODEC Legal Center, in one week the Collaborative aimed to vaccinate about 1,750 farm workers in the Riverside community.

Because of some historically based distrust of healthcare systems, the initiative, which now includes vaccinations as well as COVID-19 testing and education,  relies on trusted community voices. Promotoras (community health workers) trained by the Riverside County Public Health Department are organizing and hosting these events throughout the Coachella Valley, including trailer parks, agricultural fields, and local churches.

See coverage of their February 1 vaccination clinic at Tudor Ranch in Mecca:

[Photos courtesy of TODEC Legal Center]

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