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Thousands of JBS, Cargill employees getting COVID-19 vaccine

The agricultural workers became eligible Friday and were getting vaccinated at an on-site clinic.

GREELEY, Colo. — A new group of people including people age 60 and older and agricultural workers are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Colorado, and some of them got their shots right away at their workplaces.

On Friday, two vaccine clinics were hosted at Cargill Protein and JBS USA as phase 1B.3 of Colorado’s vaccination distribution, which opens to individuals 60 and up, frontline grocery and agricultural workers, and individuals 16-59 with two or more high-risk conditions.

RELATED: COVID-19 vaccine drive being held for essential JBS Greeley employees

One of them was taking place inside the Greeley plant located at 800 N. 8th Ave. on both Friday and Saturday, and Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) visited that clinic on Friday afternoon.

"In many ways, today is a celebration, but it's a celebration that is born out of many months of difficulty, of suffering, of the loss of six workers and the difficulties that many more have faced," Polis said.

> Video above: Gov. Jared Polis celebrates vaccinations at the JBS plant in Greeley.

UFCW Local 7, which represents the plant workers, said it estimated that 300-350 vaccines would be administered every hour, based on information from state officials. In all, the union said about 3,000 union workers and an additional 1,000 non-union workers were expected to get the vaccine.

The governor said that as of about 1:30 p.m. Friday, about 1,900 JBS and Cargill workers had already received their first dose of vaccine.

RELATED: 60+ now eligible for COVID vaccine in Colorado

JBS USA said in a statement that the facility will not run on either day of the clinic to encourage participation. It will also provide four hours of pay to any employees that get vaccinated, which is in addition to a $100 bonus being offered for getting vaccinated.

Since the pandemic began, the union said that six members who were employees at the Greeley plant had died from COVID-19, and nearly 500 have tested positive.

RELATED: 6 JBS workers who died from COVID-19 commemorated in Greeley

Another vaccine drive was also happening for Cargill Protein workers in Fort Morgan on Friday.

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