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Santa Barbara County Public Health hosts clinic to vaccinate 500 farmworkers

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Posted at 3:10 AM, Mar 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-01 06:10:42-05

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and local non-profits launched a pilot program that gives the COVID-19 vaccine to farm workers.

The pilot program was the first tri-lingual and tri-cultural clinic Santa Barbara County Public Health has put on.

Online applications and emails have created a virtual barrier for some and public health says they are looking to bridge that digital gap through the program.

Rebeca Ortiz was one of several interpreters working at the clinic to help with the translation of Spanish, English, and the indigenous language of Mixteco.

"We are here to help them fill out their paperwork, answer any of their concerns, and see to any questions they have or uncertainties they have about the vaccine," says Ortiz.

Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE), Mixteco Indigena Community Organization Project (MICOP) and Herencia Indigena were a few of the community partners involved.

CAUSE organizing director, Hazel Davalos, says they participated in a variety of outreach efforts for the clinic.

"We did in person, phone banking and we were so glad to be able to get folks signed up because the [vaccine] registration is online [and] you need to have an email... these are the barriers that make it so much harder for farm workers and immigrants to access appointments," she says.

Santa Barbara County Public Health says they hope to organize additional clinics in the coming weeks.

Along with food and agriculture workers, beginning March 1st, Santa Barbara County will also start offering vaccine appointments to education and childcare workers as well as emergency services workers.