Reaching out to forestry workers for COVID-19 vaccinations in Jackson County

In the Medford area, there are more than 20 reforestation companies who hire forestry workers through the H-2B program. They are mostly young men who come from Mexico with temporary visas. Many of these workers do not have relatives here, do not know English and are not familiar with American culture. They travel close together in vans and live in close quarters. Some go to the forest to work during the week and return to town during the weekend.

Jackson County worked in partnership together with the Oregon Employment Department, Unete Center for Farm Worker and Immigrant Advocacy and La Clinica Health Centers to contact local forestry companies and offer vaccination services to their employees and set up clinics at easily accessible locations.

“We are very happy to report that we served over 250 forestry workers over several weekends, said Angelica Ruppe, Jackson County Liaison CBOs and OHA. “Many vans full of forestry workers arrived at La Placita and La Fiesta supermarket in Medford to receive their vaccinations. We had bilingual and bicultural volunteers. Attendees were surprised to receive a food box and a gift certificate provided by Rogue Food United and tacos from “Tacos de Volada” truck. We saw a lot of smiles and heard many jokes”.

Jackson County appreciates their partnerships with OHA, Mercy Flights, FEMA, Jackson County Public Health Department, Unete, Ballet Folklórico Ritmo Alegre, La Clínica, the Oregon Employment Department, La Fiesta and Tacos de Volada for supporting the efforts to vaccinate those who face barriers to vaccination.

Angelica summed up the work in Jackson County, “Meeting people where they are comfortable to get vaccinated is a blessing for all of us!”

Vaccination is the safest and most effective way for all people in Oregon to get back to doing the things they love. If you are 12 or older, visit OHA’s Find a COVID-19 Vaccine in Oregon webpage to schedule your vaccine appointment today.