The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) launched a campaign this week to encourage pork industry employees, both on-farm and in-plant, to get COVID-19 vaccines.
With more than 500,000 workers, the U.S. pork industry supplies Americans and consumers worldwide with safe, nutritious protein.
"Declared essential by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security at the onset of the COVID pandemic, hog farmers, veterinarians, livestock haulers, harvest facility employees, and other workers across the pork supply chain play a vital role in our nation’s food security and rural economies," NPPC said, adding that it supports prioritizing COVID-19 vaccinations for essential meat and poultry workers, directly after healthcare workers, and other high-risk individuals.
“We encourage our workers to get vaccinated as the best defense against the COVID-19 virus,” the organization noted.
According to NPPC, the U.S. pork industry has made considerable investments to protect its essential workers on farm, in plants and across the supply chain. In fact, the organization pointed out that the meatpacking companies alone have invested more than $1.5 billion to implement new worker safety measures that are working. The North American Meat Institute has reported that COVID cases at meat and poultry harvest facilities have been significantly reduced and were five times lower in December 2020 than they were in May, while infections for the general population increased by nine times during the same period.
For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, NPPC recommended visiting the CDC’s multi-lingual website.
USDA deploys personnel
The USDA recently announced plans to deploy qualified personnel across several states to assist in the administration of the COVID vaccine. NPPC applauded the agency for taking this special action.
“The U.S. pork industry takes its role as an essential economic sector seriously and has made considerable investments to ensure the safety of its workers while maintaining its commitment to the nation’s food security. Of course, vaccination is the best defense against COVID-19, and we are grateful to the USDA for making personnel available to accelerate this national priority,” stated NPPC President Howard “A.V.” Roth, a pork producer from Wauzeka, Wisconsin.