Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) sent a letter to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo asking for the agricultural workers to be authorized to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We owe our agricultural workers a debt of gratitude. They have supported our families and state economy throughout the entirety of this pandemic and are essential frontline employees,” Jacobs said.
“Without their efforts, millions of families in New York, and around the nation, would not have been able to acquire the nutritious food needed to survive the health crisis.”
“Currently, in New York State, employees of our farms, producers, and processing facilities are ineligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, despite their essential status and the recommendation of the CDC,” Jacobs said.
“The work they do is critical to the stability of our nation, and I have asked the Governor to consider granting them eligibility status.”
The Centers for Disease Control has recommended that Phase 1b of the vaccine rollout include agricultural workers as eligible recipients. Currently, the Governor has authorized only “public-facing grocery store employees” as eligible members of the food and agriculture workers category in New York State’s Phase 1b vaccine program.
According to NYS Comptroller DiNapoli, in 2017 more than 33,000 farms in New York State employed over 55,000 workers and garnered over $5.7 billion in revenue. In the same year, agriculture added over $2.4 billion to the New York State Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and the state ranked in the top five of all producers for 15 different agricultural products.
“Not only is agriculture a major driver of the New York economy at a time when our state is facing massive budget deficits, but it is also a matter of health and safety,” Jacobs said.
“Allowing the men and women working on the frontlines in agriculture to receive the vaccine strengthens and stabilizes our food supply chain at this critical time.”