Top Meat Packer JBS to Offer Covid Vaccine to 8,500 U.S. Workers
The world’s largest meat packer JBS SA will offer Covid-19 vaccines to about 8,500 workers at its American subsidiaries.
Employees of JBS USA and Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., the U.S.’s second-largest chicken producer, will be offered the shot in eight states, the company said in a statement on Saturday. Some vaccinations will be administered on site, like in Greeley, Colorado, while others will be provided to the company’s workers through local health departments.
Vaccinations of meat workers are starting to accelerate, with some JBS employees already headed for a second dose. Cargill Inc. said it’s preparing to offer the vaccine to employees at three protein facilities, while Tyson Foods Inc. said it will compensate staff for four hours if they seek vaccinations outside normal shift hours or through an external provider.
A JBS USA spokesperson said some plants have age restrictions “but most do not.”
Thousands of meat-plant employees across the country have been infected with the coronavirus, and hundreds have died as the disease spread through the cold and crowded facilities. The disruptions were so large that many plants were last year forced to close, fueling concerns about meat shortages.
“We have been focused on doing everything we can to prioritize our essential workforce in state vaccination plans across the country,” Andre Nogueira, chief executive officer of JBS USA, said in the statement.
JBS and Pilgrim’s will help vaccinations by leveraging their health and safety staff, coordinating logistics and partnering with third-party health organizations to ensure medical professionals are available to administer the shot. About 700 workers in Beardstown, Illinois, will receive their second dose this week.
The companies announced earlier this year that they’d offer a $100 incentive for team members who choose to get vaccinated.
“Our role is to be flexible in helping our team members and local officials in the communities where we operate,” Nogueira said. “Whether that includes shutting down a facility to execute a mass vaccination or providing paid time off, incentives and facilitating transportation for our workforce to get where they need to go to get their vaccine, we’re committed to ensuring they have every opportunity possible to be vaccinated.”
Vaccinations will be offered to employees at the following facilities:
- Beardstown, Illinois
- Booneville, Mississippi
- Cactus and Lufkin, Texas
- Grand Island, Nebraska
- Greeley, Colorado
- Hyrum, Utah
- Marshalltown, Iowa
- Moorefield, West Virginia
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