Skip to main content

40-50% of migrant workers double-vaccinated: WECHU

Windsor, Ont. -

Another milestone has been reached in the effort to vaccinate temporary foreign workers in Essex County.

Forty to 50 per cent of migrant workers, or 4,619 workers, including some outside of Windsor-Essex, are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

Medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed calls these numbers very encouraging.

“We need the majority and we always talk about breaking the chain of transmission we want more and more people to get vaccines and we’d like to address their concerns,” says Dr. Ahmed.

Just a few weeks ago, roughly 60 per cent, or 6,175 of the temporary foreign worker population had received a single dose.

During a tour of Highline Mushrooms in Leamington Tuesday, Marco Mendicino, the minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship remarked on the stark contrast in this region from a year ago.

“This is a community that was hit hard at the outset,” Mendicino says. “It’s important that we maintain corridors that are safe and secure, that there is access to vaccines and access to isolation centres so that we can follow the proper health protocols and that’s how we get our economy going again.”

In 2020, 2,700 temporary foreign workers contracted COVID-19, 50 farms experienced outbreaks and two lives were lost to the virus.

But this year, there have been very few outbreaks in comparison, and 361 positive cases since January 1, 2021, according to WECHU.

“The initial wave hit us really hard when we were still learning about COVID,” recalls Dr. Ahmed. “But right now there’s strong measures in place by most of our farmers and operators so we are seeing a huge decline in the number of cases right now.”

As of Monday, roughly 5,000 migrant workers have been vaccinated at a dedicated clinic, which may soon wind down operations. But Dr. Ahmed says migrant workers will continue to get access to vaccines.

Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers president Jospeh Sbrocchi says the 2021 turnaround was only possible with collaboration by many partners.

“We were able to turn things around and not point fingers, but hold hands,” Sbrocchi says.

Efforts are ongoing to continue first doses among workers in the sector — and get the remainder of single-dosed migrant workers... their full vaccine series.

“I think we owe it to them to continue to support their rights and their benefits,” Mendicino says. Top Stories

Stay Connected