Tyson’s Arkansas facilities are vaccinating employees, keeping the food supply chain protected

The state of Arkansas is now distributing thousands of doses of the single-jab COVID vaccine to packing plan employees.

Tyson’s Arkansas packing plants started the week with 8,000 COVID-19 vaccines. Arkansas’s vaccine program manager, Col. Robert Ator says that Tyson is using a third-party team to distribute shots while employees are at work.

According to Col. Ator., “They will be pulling the off and just running them through and because this is the Janssen vaccine, one of the things that is really kind of unique is that we’re able to jab ‘em once and we don’t have to come back for a boost dose. So, we’re taking them away from work for one period, getting them vaccinated, and getting them back to work in a protected status.”

The vaccine department set aside 15,000 doses for Tyson and expects to make significant progress this week.

“Hopefully, we’ll have them pretty close to being done in the state, probably about somewhere around 60 percent of where they need to be by the end of the week,” Ator notes. “So, we are off to a good start.”

He says that the Health Department is continuing to work with Tyson on safety measures in the plant and building a partnership to keep employees safe.

“All together, we have seen a dramatic falloff, by the protection measures that Tyson has put in place with our experts giving some advice as well,” he explains. “That allowed us to kind of get things back under control, and so, going forward I think that partnership will even get stronger.”

Other major food processors in Arkansas, including Pilgrim’s Pride, Smithfield, OK Foods, and Simmons, will also be receiving vaccines.

“We’re working individually with different companies and industry groups to make sure we are providing the vaccine at a rate that allows them to not interrupt business but keep them so the food supply is protected,” he adds.

He says that it is important to keep the demand for the vaccine high, to ensure none of the doses is wasted.