Seed World

ASTA Joins Call to Prioritize Vaccines for Food and Ag Workers

On December 1, ASTA and 25 leading food and ag organizations sent letters to the National Governors Association, White House, and the Biden transition team requesting priority COVID-19-vaccine access to essential critical infrastructure workers.

Early on in the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency rightly designated the food and agriculture sector as part of the nation’s critical infrastructure. This has helped ensure that planting, harvesting, processing, and distribution of human and animal food has been able to continue to meet the needs of consumers. However, this frontline workforce continues to ebb and flow as employees become infected. A single infected employee necessitates the quarantine of any additional employees with whom he or she may have been in contact, a situation which could very easily create disruptions and shortages in the food supply chain.

“We fully appreciate and support that our nation’s heroic first responders, medical professionals, elderly and caretakers, along with other vulnerable individuals, clearly have the highest priority for vaccination,” state the groups in the letter. “However, as you move beyond these highest priority groups, (we) ask that front line food and agriculture employees be included in the next highest priority for the vaccine within any federal COVID-19 Vaccination Plans.”