07 Dec KARA organizes industry effort for prioritizing COVID-19 vaccination priority among agricultural workforce
On Friday, Dec. 4, Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Association (KARA) organized a coalition of 14 agriculture-related organizations and led efforts of sending a letter to Governor Laura Kelly and Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Mike Beam emphasizing prioritizing distribution of COVID-19 vaccines among agricultural employees.
The National Academies of Science (NAS) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) independently determined front line agricultural workers are essential to the economy and recommended prioritizing these workers behind health care professionals and other vulnerable individuals. The letter requested Governor Kelly and Secretary Beam follow the CDC & NAS guidelines by making front line agriculture workers a priority in Kansas behind the obvious top-tier recipients.
“While it is important that first responders, health care workers, and other high-risk individuals be at the front of the line, workers in the food and agriculture industry should also be a top priority,” the letter said. “Our members have worked hard to keep their employees safe, but community spread still puts our employees at risk outside our facilities. If one employee gets sick, contact tracing may require quarantining other employees to prevent exposure, which threatens our ability to keep essential businesses operating. Additionally, Kansas agriculture producers depend upon the health and safety of processing and manufacturing workers to keep markets open and food moving from the farm to the grocery store.”
KARA will provide updates on correspondence between the association and the Governor’s office or the Kansas Dept. of Agriculture.
A PDF of the full letter is available to view HERE or via the button below.