U.S. Rice Industry Calls for Priority Access to COVID-19 Vaccinations for Food and Agriculture Workers

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Top priority
Dec 02, 2020
WASHINGTON, DC -- USA Rice, along with other national agriculture organizations, sent letters to President Trump, President-Elect Biden, and state governors regarding priority access for food and agriculture workers to receive COVID-19 vaccinations when they become available.

Additionally, USA Rice, along with rice industry leaders in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas, sent letters yesterday to the respective governors requesting priority access for workers in the rice industry when developing plans for vaccine distribution, stating:

“With recent positive news towards the development of COVID-19 vaccines, it’s vital these vaccines are distributed to healthcare professionals and others working daily to treat and care for those who are sick or vulnerable to this disease, as well as the elderly and others who come face-to-face with the threat of this disease regularly.

The letters continue, “As we continue to adapt to meet the food and nutrition needs of American consumers and others around the world in the face of this global pandemic, it is vital food and agriculture workers have priority access to COVID-19 vaccines.  It is imperative these workers have every protection available to them for their health and safety as they continue to serve our nation.”

The California Rice Commission is working on similar efforts within their state through a coalition of California agriculture organizations.

Many states are in the stages of finalizing vaccine distribution plans in preparation for an Emergency Use Authorization clearance of potentially two COVID-19 vaccines by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which could be authorized as early as next week.

“We’ve seen how important it is for the nation’s food supply and our food security that our workers operate in a safe environment,” said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.  “These employees have taken on tremendous responsibility to maintain our food security, and we need to ensure their health and well-being is a top priority.”