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Tyson Foods becomes largest U.S. food company to require COVID-19 vaccinations

This action makes Tyson Foods the largest U.S. food company to require COVID-19 vaccinations for its entire workforce.
Credit: KTHV

SPRINGDALE, Ark. — Tyson Foods is requiring that employees at U.S. office locations to be fully vaccinated by October 1, 2021, according to a press release.

The rest of the company's employees are required to be fully vaccinated by November 1, 2021, subject to ongoing discussions with locations represented by unions.

This requirement makes Tyson Foods the largest U.S. food company to require COVID-19 vaccinations for its entire workforce. 

Around half of its employees in the country have been vaccinated and coronavirus infection rates among team members remain low.

“Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the single most effective thing we can do to protect our team members, their families and their communities,” said Dr. Claudia Coplein, Chief Medical Officer, Tyson Foods. “With rapidly rising COVID-19 case counts of contagious, dangerous variants leading to increasing rates of severe illness and hospitalization among the U.S. unvaccinated population, this is the right time to take the next step to ensure a fully vaccinated workforce.”

To support efforts to fully vaccinate all employees, the company will also provide $200 to its frontline workers, which is also subject to discussions with locations represented by unions. 

This move is an expansion of the company’s existing policy of compensating workers for up to four hours of work if they are vaccinated outside of their normal shift or through an outside source.

Exceptions to the vaccination mandate will involve workers who seek medical or religious accommodation.

“Tyson Foods and Matrix Medical have worked together since the beginning of this pandemic to develop and implement strategies to mitigate the risk of the virus to Tyson employees and their families, as well as the communities where they live and work,” said Matrix Chief Medical Officer and Group President, Daniel Castillo, M.D., M.B.A. “Matrix clinicians and Tyson team members have worked hand-in-hand to implement a broad array of workplace safety measures at Tyson, and we now feel the rising number of new cases across the U.S. warrants advanced clinical strategies – including requiring vaccinations.”