GREELEY, Colo — Thousands of essential workers at the JBS Greeley meatpacking plant will be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine next week, UFCW Local 7 announced Wednesday.
> Video above from Sept. 2020: JBS fined for failing to protect workers from COVID-19.
The union said it has secured access to the vaccine for 3,000 UFCW Local 7 members, along with thousands of additional non-union employees at the plant.
The vaccine drives will take place inside the Greeley plant located at 800 N. 8th Ave. on Friday, March 6 and Saturday, March 7.
Health care officials will arrive at the plant by 5 a.m., and employees will be able to begin getting the vaccine around 6 a.m., UFCW Local 7 said.
The union said it anticipates 300 to 350 vaccines will be administered every hour, based on information from state officials.
JBS USA said it a statement that the facility will not run on either day 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.
High employee participation is expected from JBS' Greeley value-added beef facility, Greeley transportation business, Denver value-added facility and Greeley beef facility, the company said.
Since the pandemic began, UFCW Local 7 says that six union members who were employees at the Greeley plant have died from COVID-19, and nearly 500 have tested positive since the pandemic began around mid-March of 2020.
"Every single day these hardworking employees, including our 3,000 members, make sure our nation’s food supply never falters--even when communities shut down," said UFCW Local 7 President Kim Cordova. "Too many lives have been lost at JBS Greeley because of COVID-19. The Union has never stopped fighting for each and every one of them because we recognize them for what they are--essential. Together, they have been on the front lines since day one and now they will finally have the opportunity to access the vaccine--a critical step to immunize themselves against this deadly virus."
Cordova and JBS thanked Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), local health officials and the National Guard for their help organizing the distribution event.
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How Colorado is distributing the COVID vaccine
Colorado is administering the COVID-19 vaccine in phases.
Frontline health-care workers were the first to receive the vaccine, followed by first-responders and people 70 and older. The goal is to vaccine 70% of the people in that age group by the end of February.
Educators, child-care workers and people 65 and older are also currently eligible to receive the vaccine. Essential workers are next in line.
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