Farmworker Mobility and COVID-19 Vaccination Strategies: Yuma County, Arizona, 2021

Katherine A. Franc Division of Global Migration Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia;
Epidemic Intelligence Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia;

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Alba E. Phippard Division of Global Migration Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia;

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Priscila Ruedas Yuma County Public Health Services District, Yuma, Arizona;
Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona;

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Sarah J. Pinto Division of Global Migration Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia;
Kāpili Services, LLC, Orlando, Florida;

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Kanan Mehta Division of Global Migration Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia;

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Sonia Montiel Division of Global Migration Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia;
Kāpili Services, LLC, Orlando, Florida;

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Sonia Contreras Division of Global Migration Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia;

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Hannah Katz Division of Global Migration Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia;

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Elvira McIntyre Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Geospatial Research, Analysis, and Services Program, Atlanta, Georgia;

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Benito Lopez Yuma County Public Health Services District, Yuma, Arizona;

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Michelle Kreutzberg-Martinez Arizona Department of Health Services, Phoenix, Arizona

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Daisy Steiner Arizona Department of Health Services, Phoenix, Arizona

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Diana Gomez Yuma County Public Health Services District, Yuma, Arizona;

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Rebecca Merrill Division of Global Migration Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia;

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Farmworkers, a group of essential workers, experience a disproportionately high burden of COVID-19 due to their living and working conditions. This project characterized farmworker mobility in and around Yuma County, Arizona, to identify opportunities to improve farmworker access to COVID-19 vaccination. We collected qualitative and geospatial data through a series of in-person and virtual focus group discussions, key informant interviews, and intercept interviews with participatory mapping. Participants included farmworkers, employers, and representatives of local institutions who serve or interact with farmworkers. We identified participants through purposive and referential sampling and grouped people by sociodemographic characteristics for interviews. We used qualitative and geospatial analyses to identify common themes and mobility patterns. The team interviewed 136 people from February 26 to April 2, 2021. Common themes emerged about how farmworkers have little or no access to COVID-19 vaccination unless offered at their workplaces or at locations where they congregate at convenient times. Further, farmworkers described how their demanding work schedules, long commute times, and caretaker commitments make it challenging to access vaccination services. Geospatial analyses identified three geographic areas in Yuma County where farmworkers reported living and working that did not have a COVID-19 vaccine clinic within walking distance. Coordination between local public health authorities and key partners, including employers and trusted representatives from local community-based organizations or the Mexican consulate, to offer vaccination at worksites or other locations where farmworkers congregate can help improve access to COVID-19 vaccines and booster doses for this population.

Author Notes

Financial support: Participant gift cards ($25) for farmworkers, farmworker family members, and community health workers were funded by the Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS) Binational Infectious Disease Surveillance (BIDS) Program.

Disclosures: The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Authors’ addresses: Katherine A. Franc, Alba E. Phippard, Kanan Mehta, Sonia Contreras, Hannah R. Katz, Elvira McIntyre, and Rebecca Merrill, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, E-mails: kfranc@cdc.gov, aphippard@cdc.gov, kmehta@cdc.gov, scontreras@cdc.gov, hkatz@cdc.gov, emcintyre@cdc.gov, and rdaymerrill@cdc.gov. Priscila Ruedas, Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, E-mail: priscilaruedas@arizona.edu. Sarah J. Pinto and Sonia Montiel, Cherokee Nation Operational Solutions, LLC, Tulsa, OK, E-mails: spinto@cdc.gov and smontiel@cdc.gov. Benito Lopez and Diana Gomez, Yuma County Public Health Services District, Yuma, AZ, E-mails: benito.lopez@yumacountyaz.gov and diana.gomez@yumacountyaz.gov. Michelle Kreutzberg-Martinez and Daisy Steiner, Arizona Department of Health Services, Phoenix, AZ, E-mails: michelle.kreutzberg-martinez@azdhs.gov and daisy.steiner@azdhs.gov.

Address correspondence to Katherine A. Franc, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30329-4018. E-mail: kfranc@cdc.gov
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