Meat-packer JBS USA and chicken company Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. said Jan. 21 they will pay $100 to U.S. employees who voluntarily receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
The bonus is intended to encourage employees to get inoculations, after thousands of U.S. meat-packing workers became infected with the coronavirus last year. Outbreaks of the disease temporarily shut slaughterhouses in the spring, pushing up meat prices and tightening supplies for consumers.
JBS USA and Pilgrim’s Pride said internal surveys showed 60 to 90 per cent of employees at individual facilities were willing to be vaccinated. The companies have launched educational campaigns to promote the vaccine to their workforce, which includes immigrants from around the world.
According to federal guidance by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food and agricultural workers are scheduled to receive the vaccine in a later phase, after health-care workers and people over the age of 75.
“We recognize that some team members in our diverse workforce may have concerns or be less inclined to get vaccinated,” said Chris Gaddis, JBS USA’s head of human resources.