ARLINGTON, VA - On behalf of the food industry, FMI praises Gov. Gavin Newsom's office, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the California Department of Food & Agriculture and California Grocers Association President and CEO Ron Fong who serves on the CDPH Vaccine Advisory Committee, for clarifying that grocery workers are now eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations in every county of California as part Phase 1B, Tier 1, of the state’s vaccine distribution plan.  FMI President and CEO, Leslie G. Sarasin, provided the following statement: 

“Public recognition by Governor Newsom and the state of California of the essential services grocery workers provide to their communities and the prioritization of their health and safety is an important victory for the food sector. As a result of the uneven experience across state lines, with many states shifting their vaccine prioritization frameworks counter to federal guidance, food industry essential workers in some jurisdictions are struggling to access vaccinations. Food sector workers – from manufacturing/production employees necessarily working in close proximity, to grocery workers who have a higher contact rate with the public, to certain transportation workers and food safety auditors who ensure food, beverages and packaged goods are safe for consumer consumption – should be prioritized to receive COVID-19 vaccines just as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Advisory Committee on Immunization (ACIP) and National Academy of Sciences have already recommended. To do otherwise ignores the critical role these individuals play in keeping the country nourished.”