Michigan food processing and agricultural workers will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting March 1, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).
The initiative was announced as part of a new program to “enhance the state’s equity strategy to reach more Michiganders with the COVID-19 vaccine.” Workers in food processing and agricultural settings comprise about 79,000 Michiganders. Getting them vaccinated “will help ensure the health and safety of Michigan’s essential food and agriculture workers and keep the state’s food supply chain moving,” according to a Feb. 15 MDHHS statement.
“Workers in higher-risk agricultural settings have been adversely impacted by this pandemic,” Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive, said in the statement.
The new initiative comes just weeks after MDHHS told Michigan Farm Bureau that agricultural workers would more than likely have to wait until May 1 to be vaccinated, according to MFB’s publication, Michigan Farm News.
A day after the new plan was announced, MFB was still studying the details, trying to figure out who exactly will be eligible and how to help them get in line, MFB associate legislative counsel Ben Tirrell told Good Fruit Grower.
“At the very least, it’s a step in a positive direction in terms of getting vulnerable points in the supply chain addressed,” Tirrell said.
—by Matt Milkovich