High River, Alta. – COVID-19 vaccination clinics are set to open Thursday at Canada’s largest beef packing plants in southern Alberta.
Both the Kargil plant near the High River south of Coal and the JBS Canada facility in Brooks, Alta, were severely affected by the eruption last year.
“The vast majority of our members want early access to a safe vaccine, which is underscored by the fact that the government, policymakers and their employer do not realize they are safe,” said Thomas Hessey, president of United Food and Technology. Business Workers Local 401, which refers to union workers at both factories.
“It’s a cautious hope, a cautious relief.”
Plans for a vaccination clinic at the Kargil beef slaughterhouse were postponed last week.
Nearly half of its 2,200 workers tested positive for the Corona virus novel last year.
The JPS plant operated with a single shift every day for a full month last spring and reported 650 cases per 2,500 workers at the facility.
Both plants typically process 70 percent of Canada’s beef.
Hessey said that 70 to 80 percent of Kargil workers’ votes are reasonably comfortable getting vaccinated, while others feel somewhat awkward.
It’s not mandatory, he said, but he believes most people will decide to get a shot.
Hessey said it was important for Kargil and other employers to ensure that workplaces were safe even after vaccinations. There seems to be recognition that this is a serious workplace issue.
“Vaccination is part of a safe workplace. It is an element of the path ahead. ”
Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shantro announced earlier this week that all meat packing staff in the province will be vaccinated.
It will be provided to more than 15,000 workers in 136 federal and provincial factories.
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This report by Canadian Publishing was first published on April 29, 2021.
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