Alejandro giving a thumbs-up getting vaccinated by a health worker in protective gear

Migrant farmworkers can easily receive the Covid-19 vaccine, the Tdap (tetanus, diptheria and pertussis) vaccine, and the seasonal Influenza (flu) vaccine at their place of work through this program.

To learn more or schedule a vaccination, contact Claire Bove at (802) 249-4611 by phone, text or WhatsApp; call (802) 388-4969 extension 338; or email claire.bove@uvm.edu.

Program Details

This program offers free vaccines to farmworkers and farm owners across Vermont. The goals are to make sure farmworkers have access to accurate vaccine information and vaccines so that their risk of illness is reduced. Farmworkers may be especially vulnerable to illnesses due to the dirty, dangerous, and physically difficult work environment. They often live and work in close quarters, which means illness can spread easily and quickly. They have less access to vaccines due to health care costs, lack of transportation, work schedule, and language barriers.

From September through December of 2021 (the fall immunization outreach season), the program delivered 722 vaccinations to Vermont farmworkers and farm owners across 10 counties and 53 farms and businesses. During this same period, access for 58 vaccinations was coordinated at local community sites.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is COVID-19?

The COVID-19 virus:

  • Is a disease caused by a coronavirus — a germ that can easily be spread from person to person.
  • Causes flu-like symptoms: dry cough, shortness of breath, fever, tiredness and body aches.
  • Mainly affects the respiratory (breathing) system. Although most infections are not dangerous, the virus can cause pneumonia (an infection of the lungs), can damage the heart, the kidneys, and in severe cases can lead to death.

Why is it important to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Vaccination is the best way to prevent COVID-19 infection in yourself and others. The virus will spread less as more as more people are vaccinated. Most people who get COVID-19 do not get very sick; however, even people who are not very sick can pass the virus to other people. Elderly people, young children or people with health problems may get very sick and need to be hospitalized. Some of these people will have symptoms that last a long time and some may die. By getting vaccinated, we can protect ourselves and our loved ones from more severe illness.

What are tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis?

  • Tetanus causes painful muscle spasms and may cause a person’s jaws to lock together, which makes it hard to breathe and swallow. Tetanus can lead to death.
  • Diphtheria can damage organs, including the heart, which can lead to death.
  • Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, causes such severe coughing that a person cannot catch their breath. It is very dangerous for babies.

Why is it important to get the Tdap vaccine?

  • Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis are all potentially dangerous illnesses.
  • The Tdap vaccine will help prevent these three diseases in one dose.
  • Tetanus: Farmworkers are especially at risk for tetanus because of a germ that can be in the soil or manure. This germ can enter the body through cuts or wounds.
  • Diphtheria and pertussis: These germs are spread from person to person, so when you get the vaccine, you protect yourself and others.
  • Tdap is a combined vaccine against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.
  • For many adults, theTdap vaccine should be updated every ten years.

What is Influenza (flu)?

Influenza (flu) is the name for a group of viruses that spread for several months every year, causing fever, chills and other symptoms like the common cold but more severe.

In Vermont, the "flu season" begins in fall and continues through the winter and spring. Most infections happen during the months of December to March and most people will recover from the it. It can be serious for babies, elders or people with health problems. The influenza virus changes quickly, so a new vaccine is created each year to protect against the new virus.

How does our body respond to vaccines?

  • Vaccines cause the body to make an immune response when it is practicing fighting off the germ.
  • Some people may have some symptoms from this immune response, and they may feel a little sick. This just means your immune system is doing its job.
  • After getting the vaccine, people still can go to work because they are not sick with the germ and cannot spread any illness. 
  • If you don’t feel well enough to work, the symptoms should last only a day or two, far fewer days than if you were sick with the germ. 
  • Getting the vaccines will prevent sick days and missed earnings.

For More Information


The health information on this page was adapted from the following sources:


EXCITE: Extension Collaborative on Immunization Teaching & Engagement

The Extension Foundation, in cooperation with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP), through an Interagency Agreement with the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are funding the Cooperative Extension System to address health disparities among rural and other underserved communities. This initiative is called the Extension Collaborative on Immunization Teaching and Engagement (EXCITE).

 

How Does a Vaccine Work?

Vaccination is a way to protect people from dangerous illnesses. Vaccines give you to a tiny bit of weak germ or to a little piece of genetic information made in a lab, usually through an injection (a shot). The amount of germ in the injection is so small that it can’t hurt you, but it is enough to help your immune system practice fighting the disease. After that practice, your body can more easily fight the disease if you are exposed to it later.

illustration of how a vaccine works

Graphic adapted from the Minnesota Department of Health