Segio Guzman has spent the last year worried.

The 33-year-old from Reading has kept working at Giorgi Companies straight through the COVID-19 pandemic. He's put himself at risk, serving as an essential worker helping to keep the county's food supply lines running.

"I've been kind of scared; I've got kids," he said. "Stepping outside the door every day you don't know what's out there."

Wednesday morning, some of Guzman's fears were eased. He sat on a folding chair inside a large, white tent erected outside of the mushroom company's Blandon plant, a freshly filled out vaccination card in his hand.

Moments before, he had been jabbed in the arm with his first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. It was a much-appreciated step toward safety.

"This makes me feel a little better," he said.

Guzman was one of about 1,300 Giorgi employees and family members of employees who got a chance to get vaccinated Tuesday and Wednesday, thanks to a visit from the CATE Mobile Vaccination Unit.

The mobile clinic is the product of a partnership between Latino Connection, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Highmark Blue Shield, the Independence Blue Cross Foundation and other community health partners. It provides vaccinations and education throughout Pennsylvania, targeting minority and underserved communities.

The stop in Blandon was the third in the unit's 120-stop tour.

George Fernandez, founder and CEO of Latino Connection, said his organization has a long-standing relationship with Giorgi. When the mobile clinic project came together, he said, it was only natural to include the company.

"Their employees are literal heroes," he said, referring to their continued work during the pandemic. "They've helped feed many people."

Fernandez said one of the reasons Giorgi was such a natural fit for the mobile clinic project is that a large number of the company's employees are Latino, a population that has been undeserved when it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations. The mobile clinic is able to provide access that otherwise can be hard to find.

Take, for example, a patient in their early 90s who got vaccinated at the site Tuesday, Fernandez said. They hadn't been able to get the vaccine elsewhere and hadn't been able to visit with their family for a year.

"This is the beginning of a new chapter in the book we call life," Fernandez said.

Gina DeLillo, Giorgi chief human resource officer, said being able to offer the mobile clinic to employees has been a fulfilling endeavor.

"To be able to know we can do something for our employees of this magnitude, to help them get back to normal, it's amazing," she said. "They've been troopers. You can see the sense of relief they have after getting their shot."

DeLillo said Giorgi has been working hard to protect its employees since the start of the pandemic. They mandated mask wearing "before it was cool," she said, have set up hand sanitizing stations and put up partitions between employees.

The company also has spent about a month educating employees about the COVID-19 vaccines.

And between a previous, smaller vaccination clinic the company held with Berks Community Health Center and a visit by the mobile clinic next week at Giorgi's Chester County locations, between 60% and 70% of employees will have gotten their first vaccine doses.

"To do this, now, for them is just a pleasure," DeLillo said. "They were showing up, every day. Now we get to pay them back by protecting them and their families."

The mobile clinic will return to Giorgi in May to provide second doses to those who received first does this week.

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