NAMPA, Idaho — Reynaldo Celestino is a family nurse practitioner with Family Medicine Health Center in Nampa who's helping administer the COVID-19 vaccine to local agricultural workers.
It's an effort near and dear to his heart.
“I think that’s amazing that we are able to reach out to this specific population. Coming from a family of immigrant families, specifically migrant workers, here in the Treasure Valley," Celestino said.
Family Medicine set up a clinic at the Saltzer building to vaccinate more than 100 farmworkers on Saturday.
“We want to make sure the individuals who are putting food on our tables are safe, they are secure, and their health and safety is taken care of,” said Luis Lagos, a Community Outreach Program Manager at Family Medicine Health Center.
According to a COVID-19 in Rural America: Impact on Farms & Agricultural Workers fact-sheet by the National Center Farmworker Health (NCFH), difficulties in accessing health insurance among agricultural workers might have deterred some to seek health care services.
Lagos said the health center has gone mobile, visiting
a dairy farm in Melba to reach as many people as possible and address health insurance concerns.
“The other issue is low levels of insurance, (which) means they don’t have insurance and they don’t have an established primary care provider. It’s very unlikely they would think about getting the vaccine, and they might think it’s complicated,” Lagos said. “Instead of them coming to the clinic, we are going to them,” he said.
Luis Contreras, who’s been a farmworker for more than two years, received his final dose of the Pfizer vaccine. He said it gives him peace of mind after seeing the deadly effects of the virus firsthand.
“I do know of people who we used to work with who contracted the virus and some of them aren’t with us anymore,” Contreras said.
While some may be hesitant to get the vaccine, Lagos believes outreach from health care providers can alleviate those concerns.
“You know, reaches out to them it’s easier to get people vaccinated."