Frontline meat and poultry workers should be amongst the first to be vaccinated after health care workers and those in long-term care facilities, according to federal guidance approved by the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Priority (ACIP), the North American Meat Institute reported.
North American Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts applauded ACIP’s guidance and urged state governments to follow CDC’s decision:
“Priority access to vaccines is a critical step for the long-term safety of the selfless frontline meat and poultry workers who have kept America’s refrigerators full and our farm economy working. Meat Institute members stand ready to support vaccination for our diverse workforce, which will also deliver wide-ranging health benefits in rural and high-risk communities. Meat and poultry leaders may also be able to aid vaccination for all Americans, for example by offering state-of-the-art cold storage for these precious vaccines.”
According to NAMI, $1.5 billion in COVID-19 preventions and supports implemented since the earliest days of the pandemic have reversed COVID-19’s impact on meat and poultry workers.
Meat Institute members have distributed tens of millions of pieces of personal protective equipment, implemented health and temperature screening, radically modified facilities, conducted testing, preemptively paid leave for high-risk and quarantined employees, enhanced air sanitation and ventilation, and much more.
Due to these efforts, COVID-19 infection rates amongst workers in the meat industry are now more than 8 times lower than in the general population, said the North American Meat Institute.
Prioritizing vaccination for frontline meat and poultry workers is supported by leaders across industry, unions, civil rights organizations and has been recognized as a key consideration in multiple other countries’ vaccine distribution planning.
The North American Meat Institute is the leading voice for the meat and poultry industry. The Meat Institute’s members process the vast majority of U.S. beef, pork, lamb, and poultry, as well as manufacture the equipment and ingredients needed to produce the safest and highest quality meat and poultry products.