EAST SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – It was a busy Saturday night at Allora Italian Restaurant in East Sacramento and nothing unusual for co-owner Deneb Williams – he’s been going at it since the start of the pandemic.

“We are essential workers. We are feeding people who are in quarantine,” said Deneb Williams, also the executive chef at Allora. “A lot of them are in food insecure situations. Without us, they would not eat.”

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When COVID-19 hit, Williams got to work boxing up and delivering tens of thousands of meals to schools and community centers.

“We delivered to our church, The Table for 24 weeks straight all the while in closed confined quarters,” he said.

That’s why Williams got his vaccine appointment the minute food and agricultural workers were added to the list. But when he and his employees went to get their first shot this week, they say they were turned away.

“I tried and then they told me I couldn’t,” said Lee Hingon, chef. “I wasn’t exactly happy with that.”

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Hingon said he was told he wasn’t eligible unless he could show proof he was a frontline worker – like a healthcare worker.

We reached out to the Sacramento County Department of Public Health for an explanation. A spokesperson told me food and agricultural workers haven’t been bumped down or off the list – they’re next in line.

“Due to the size of our worker populations in each Tier – Sacramento County has not begun to vaccinate this group (each county is at a different pace based on works, population, and allocation amounts),” the spokesperson said in a statement.

Williams doesn’t buy it.

He says his workers are getting pushed to the back of the line while others in the same tier get their shots.

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“We got put on 1b along with teachers and other emergency workers and at the last minute, we got bumped,” Williams said. “And I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t think it’s right.”