Specialized clinics cater to agricultural community

(Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images/TNS)

VARYSBURG — A specialized COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Thursday catered to a different population in Wyoming County.

The session was specifically aimed at farmers, farmworkers and other members of the agricultural community.

Another, similar clinic is set for this week and area health officials encourage participation.

“We had a very successful clinic today in Perry for farmers, farm workers, agricultural support business and their families — special thanks to valued partners and volunteers from Cornell Cooperative Extension, Farm Bureau and Oak Orchard Health for their help,” said Wyoming County Public Health Administrator Laura Paolucci.

As of Monday, there were still appointments available for the next Moderna clinic on the county’s west side. It’s set for 7 to 11 a.m. at the Lodge at Hidden Valley Animal Adventure on Royce Road in Varysburg.

Early registration is open for farmers, farm workers, agricultural support business and their families, ages 18 and older.

Officials throughout the region would like to see more people in the agricultural community get vaccinated.

“Unfortunately, farm workers were only included in the vaccine eligibility when the state opened up to everyone,” said spokeswoman Nola Goodrich-Kresse of the Genesee and Orleans County health departments. “We had been advocating for several months to include farm workers as essential workers so we could offer vaccine earlier. With the delayed ability to vaccinate this population, our rates are not where we’d like to see them.”

The counties have also been affected by the recent pause in Johnson & Johnson vaccine distribution — now rescinded — after blood clotting issues developed in about 15 women who had received it.

“Most growers and workers were seeking the one-shot vaccine to minimize logistics of having to go back for a second dose,” Goodrich-Kresse saaid. “This delay has slowed down progress in getting more workers vaccinated. We have been working collaboratively with our the farms and partners to get the vaccine to all that want it as soon as we can.”

The biggest challenges counties currently face with agricultural vaccinations involve education and communication and the logistics of vaccinating on-site at farms, Goodrich-Kresse said. Significant coordination is often needed to make arrangements and find times that work best for the growers.

“With agriculture being our No. 1 economy, making sure our workers are vaccinated, protected and healthy are very important to the workforce,” she said.

Although Thursday’s clinic is aimed at the agricultural community, the public may register.

An appointment is required to be vaccinated. Register by visiting www.wyomingco.net and choosing “COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Registration” under County Quick Links.

Those with questions or who may need help registering may call the Wyoming County Health Department at (585) 786-8890 or Cornell Cooperative Extension at (585) 786-2251.

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