Tyson Foods says 5,400 employees take COVID-19 shots after vaccine mandate

Company expects to lose some employees, citing mixed reaction

Photo: iStock/Getty Images Plus

About 5,400 Tyson Foods Inc. employees have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or received their first shots since the meat processor ordered its entire U.S. workforce to be vaccinated by November, the company said. 

Major U.S. companies are changing policies on vaccinations and masking as the Delta variant of the coronavirus drives a resurgence of cases. 

Tyson said in its initial announcement that office workers must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 1, while plant workers have until Nov. 1, subject to discussions with labour unions. At the time, about 56,000 employees had already been vaccinated, roughly 47 per cent of Tyson’s U.S. workforce of 120,000, according to the company. 

Employees had a “somewhat mixed” reaction to the mandate, chief executive Donnie King told reporters on a call with reporters where the company reported stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings. Some workers got shots who previously “weren’t really excited about the vaccination,” he said.

King did not know of employees who quit over the mandate but said there could be “some short-term impacts.” 

“We don’t want to lose anyone,” he said. 

Tyson came under fire last year as plant workers became infected and died from COVID-19. The company temporarily closed plants to contain outbreaks, tightening U.S. meat supplies. 

The recent spread of the Delta variant has made it harder for Tyson to find workers, King said. 

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