Farm workers have worked hard throughout the pandemic to put food on the table for New Yorkers, but they're still not eligible for the vaccine yet.
Now, some are asking why.
"Everyone's very concerned, like, 'Why don’t we get the vaccine first?' And then, we can continue working, producing food for America," said Hudson Valley Foie Gras plant manager Yasmin Romero.
It's been a difficult year for the workers at the Hudson Valley Foie Gras farm. Throughout the pandemic, workers here have processed about 35,000 chickens and ducks a week, in close working conditions that allowed COVID-19 to spread fast.
General manager Marcus Henley estimates a third of his workforce has gotten sick with COVID-19 this past year.
"The courage that the people who work here had to come in this door everyday and go out and work while we were having positive cases of COVID-19," said Hudson Valley Foie Gras general manager Marcus Henley. "We continued to work, we continued to provide food for other peoples' families."
What You Need To Know
- Hudson Valley Foie Gras processes about 35,000 ducks and chickens every week
- General Manager Marcus Henley estimates a third of the farm's workforce has contracted COVID-19
- The farm implemented safety protocols, like enforcing masks, staggering break times, and daily temperature checks to keep workers safe, but they're still concerned they could get sick
A large percentage of the workers here are Latino, a community that has been hit hard this past year by the virus. But for the past few months, they’ve watched as groups of essential workers have been added to the list of New Yorkers eligible for the vaccine.
But not farm workers.
"It is disappointing that we haven’t been placed, agricultural workers or processing workers, on the vaccine list yet, but were still coming to work because what we do is critical. If we don’t work, people don’t eat," said Henley.
The farm implemented safety protocols, like enforcing masks, staggering break times, and daily temperature checks, but workers are still concerned.
"Everybody was really concerned. We all have parents, children. They're more vulnerable to get the COVID, so it was very hard. You almost didn’t want to go home because you thought the virus was on you already," said Romero.
But workers here say they’ll sign up for the vaccine as soon as it’s available to them.
"These people they feel like they're not being respected as a human being, like, why are we the last people to get it?"