Tyson Foods extends on-site COVID-19 vaccines to employee families, households

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In this May 1, 2020, file photo, a sign sits in front of the Tyson Foods plant in Waterloo, Iowa. A group of worker advocacy organizations has filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture alleging that meat processing companies Tyson and JBS have engaged in workplace racial discrimination during the coronavirus pandemic. The complaint alleges the companies adopted polices that reject U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on distancing and protective gear on meat processing lines. The complaint says the operating procedures have a discriminatory impact on mostly Black, Latino, and Asian workers. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, file)

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KCAU) – Tyson Foods will be extending the on-site COVID-19 vaccinations to family members of employees as well as other people living in their homes.

The company said the vaccines will be available, per state and local guidelines, to those extended groups at all future vaccination events.

“Tyson is a family company, and we know our team members want to ensure their families and those they live with are protected against the virus, so we’re pleased to start giving them access to our free, onsite vaccinations,” said Dr. Claudia Coplein, Tyson Foods’ Chief Medical Officer.

“We strive to be a valued partner in every plant community our team members call home. We know expanding access to the vaccine not only helps them and their loved ones but can have positive public health implications for the broader communities where we operate,” said Dr. Coplein.

The expansion of the vaccine started recently at Tyson Foods vaccination events in Indiana, Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia.

These included clinics at the company’s major production facilities in Logansport and Corydon, Indiana, and Glen Allen, Virginia, along with Amarillo and Sherman, Texas.

Beau Hart, a Tyson team member in Amarillo, was vaccinated on Friday and brought his wife and mother-in-law to the clinic on Saturday.

“I’ve been wanting to get the vaccine. I have a little boy at home who has a compromised immune system, and I work with the public in my job. We think it is great Tyson offered this to families, as well at no cost,” said Rayia Hart, Beau’s wife.

Courtney Smith, the wife of a team member at the company’s Corydon, Indiana, poultry facility, was recently vaccinated at an onsite event.

“Having the vaccine available at a location I’m familiar with was extremely convenient. The event was very well organized, and I’m grateful for Tyson opening up eligibility to employee’s families and providing easy access to the vaccine,” said Courtney Smith, wife of a Tyson team member.

Mark Lauritsen, Vice President of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International, said they welcome this important step by Tyson to increase the vaccine access for the essential workers they represent, as well as their families.

“Expanding access to free vaccine programs like this is vital to public health and keeping our plants and communities safe. UFCW is urging all companies in the industry to follow the lead of Tyson and others taking steps to further expand vaccine access for frontline food workers as they continue to keep our food supply secure during the pandemic,” said Lauritsen.

Tyson Foods said almost 40,000 employees had been vaccinated so far, as of April 21, at more than 100 vaccination events held at their facilities or in nearby community facilities.

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