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COVID-19 vaccination clinics for biggest Alberta meat-packing plants begin

Last Updated Apr 29, 2021 at 12:32 pm MDT

An exterior picture from the Cargill plant in High River. (PHOTO: CityNews)
Summary

Between 70 and 80 per cent of meat plant workers want vaccine: Union leader

The vaccination site was supposed to be set up last week, but was delayed because of vaccine shortages

HIGH RIVER (660 NEWS) – Two of Alberta’s largest meat-packing plants are opening vaccination clinics Thursday.

The Cargill plant near High River and JBS Canada in Brooks will start administering vaccines as a part of the province’s plan to inoculate about 15,000 plant workers.

Both facilities were hit hard by COVID-19 outbreaks last year, Cargill was the location of the biggest outbreak in the country. The clinic there was scheduled to be up and running for last week, but a shortage of vaccines resulted in a delay.

UFCW 401 President Thomas Hesse says he expects most workers to get the shot.

“Our polling reveals that 70-80 per cent of the members are relatively comfortable with it, and 20-25 per cent are feeling some discomfort,” Hesse said.

“The overwhelming majority of our members want early access to a safe vaccine. That’s underscored by the fact that they don’t feel government, policymakers, and employers have kept them safe.”

 

Cargill and its roughly 2,000 workers are responsible for nearly a third of all of Canada’s beef production. When combined with JBS’s output, it accounts for almost 70 per cent of all beef processing in the country.