OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Meatpacking workers across the country have started receiving coronavirus vaccines and thousands more will have a chance to get their shots this week, offering some peace of mind in an industry that was ravaged by COVID-19 a year ago.
“There’s a level of relief to know they are finally getting the vaccination, and maybe we can start taking steps back to normal — not just at the work site but just in their life in general,” said Mark Lauritsen, who was meeting with workers at a Tyson Foods plant in Waterloo, Iowa, Monday about their chance to get the vaccine this week.
Lauritsen, who is the United Food and Commercial Workers union’s vice president of food processing and meatpacking, said that interest in the vaccine is high among workers after the industry took such a heavy toll from the virus. He expects — based on a union survey and the experience at the first couple plants where vaccines were offered — that roughly 70% of workers who get the chance to be vaccinated will get a shot.