For months, anti-vaccine conspiracy theories had ripped across northern California’s wine country, invisible wildfires of untruth spreading through some of the country’s most vulnerable communities. They were particularly damaging among the low-income Mexican and Mexican American families whose labor powers the region’s large agricultural economy.
The most common rumor was that the coronavirus vaccines caused infertility, which some said was part of a government plot to keep immigrants from having U.S.-born children. Even more fantastical beliefs circulated. There were suspicions that there were microchips embedded in the vaccines that could be used by the government to track undocumented workers.
Although Latinos make up about 27 percent of the population in Sonoma, according to the Census Bureau, they accounted for 3 in 4 covid-19 cases in the county at a high point last summer.
That disproportionate burden was why [nonprofit] La Familia Sana began to distribute safety information to farmworkers and their families. Since then, the group’s efforts have helped vaccinate hundreds and, perhaps, even thousands of farmworkers.