Assemblyman John Lemondes (R,C,I-Lafayette) has sent a letter to Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker urging him to allow farmers, their employees and other agricultural workers into the early vaccination phases. As this group of individuals has been working throughout the entirety of the pandemic with little to no support from the state, Lemondes believes the least the state government can do is allow them to get the vaccine as early as possible so they can continue to work and produce for the benefit of all New Yorkers.
“The continued ignorance regarding agricultural workers in this state is truly disheartening to see, but to deny these workers a vaccine is irresponsible beyond compare,” Lemondes said. “The men and women of the agricultural industry have worked day and night throughout this pandemic, with no previous support from the state, to ensure we have our food, our crops and our essentials, even as other industries were forced to shut down and work remotely. The injustice of denying these workers the protection they deserve from this virus cannot be allowed to continue.”
A sheep farmer himself, Lemondes has firsthand experience understanding the ignorance and almost absentmindedness state government has when it comes to the needs of the agricultural community. “These agricultural workers feed the state, the country and the world with their labor, and they often get little from state government. I must insist that we change our attitudes toward agricultural workers,” Lemondes concluded.