UIHC working to vaccinate migrant farm workers in Iowa

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 9:01 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) -Springtime brings thousands of migrant farmworkers to Iowa, and many of them are not vaccinated. Researchers at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics are working to get them the vaccine.

UIHC is partnering with Proteus to get more migrant workers vaccinated. They are collecting data through bilingual surveys and soon an app to help reach them. They say the one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine may work best for the workers.

“These workers are not here for a long period of time,” said Dr. Claudia Corwin, MD, MPH, Clinical Assistant Professor. “Some just three weeks, some six weeks.”

Migrant farmworkers are coming from all over to work on farms across Iowa, many from places where it’s hard to get the vaccine.

“When it comes to health care,” said Corwin. “Many of our migrant workers, the only time that they actually receive consistent health care is when they come to Iowa.”

It puts themselves, and others at risk.

“They can’t protect their families, they can’t protect their friends,” said Corwin. “Often migrant seasonal farmworkers live in very crowded congregate settings. They travel on crowded buses. They work in crowded fields or next to each other.”

Corwin says vaccinating migrant farmworkers benefits Iowa in the long run.

“Iowa is an agricultural powerhouse. We feed the country,” she said. “These migrant seasonal farmworkers do the work.”

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