The American Farm Bureau Federation is urging the Biden administration to prioritize agriculture for the COVID-19 vaccine. In a letter sent to the administration, AFBF President Zippy Duvall called for the elimination of barriers to vaccine access for America’s farmers and farmworkers.
“We fully appreciate and support that our nation’s heroic first responders, medical professionals, the elderly and caretakers, along with other vulnerable individuals, clearly have the highest priority for vaccination,” President Duvall wrote. “As new COVID-19 vaccines are approved and ready for distribution, we encourage the administration to support granting priority vaccine access to employees across the food and agriculture supply chain. This prioritization would ensure that planting, harvesting, processing, and distribution of human and animal food can continue to ensure our grocery shelves and food pantries remain stocked.”
The administration recently directed states to prioritize vaccines for teachers. AFBF’s request that similar action be taken for agriculture is consistent with the recommendations of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook for Jurisdiction Operations, and the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ recommendations.
“Like all Americans, we are thankful for the unprecedented research effort that has led to the development of multiple new vaccines and anxiously await the vaccine supply to meet current demand,” President Duvall said. “In addition to employee health concerns, the coronavirus spread among the workforce leaves critical positions unfilled, current employees stretched thin and the threat of additional farm and processing facility shutdowns. This situation could again create disruptions and shortages in the food supply chain: a situation I’m confident we all hope to avoid.”