Local faith leaders, advocates call on officials to speed up vaccination process for minority communities

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LODI, Calif. (KTXL) — The COVID-19 vaccine rollout in California continues to be slow for some areas of the state, and advocates for farmers and minority communities believe the process needs to be sped up.

From his eyes to his hands, Luis Magana has paid his dues working under the hot California sun. Now, he is using his voice to make sure the voices of farmworkers are heard.

“Workers are feeling alone in this situation,” Magana said. “We are essential workers but where is the vaccine for us?”

Magana, who helps connect farmworkers in San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties with resources, said since the vaccine was rolled out in December, that is the number one question on their minds.

“When I arrive, the workers around me, ‘When is our time? When is our turn to get the vaccine?’” he told FOX40. “I said sorry, I don’t have any information yet.”

“It has been very slow,” said Nelson Rabell, who is the associate pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Lodi.

Rabell has joined Magana and more than 50 other church leaders and organizations to ask local and state officials to quickly vaccinate farmworkers and other ethnic minorities.

“We understand there are issues related to the federal government, but we need our local officials to speed up the process as best as they can,” Rabell said.

San Joaquin County told FOX40 right now, it’s looking like farmworkers could begin receiving the vaccine on March 1. Stanislaus County mentioned it could be as early as Feb. 22. But it all depends on if the counties receive enough vaccines from the state.

The pastor said the pandemic has disproportionately impacted the Latino population in cases and deaths.

“It’s a high-risk population,” he said.

Another thing Magana said needs to be sped up is the spread of information.

“Farmers or labor contractors who manage the workers, they don’t talking about this, nothing,” he explained.

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