USA, Washington. The North American Meat Institute urged federal authorities to highly prioritize Covid-19 vaccination for the men and women who work in the meat and poultry industry, following healthcare workers and those in long term care facilities.
Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts commented: "The men and women of the meat and poultry industry help keep America's grocery stores stocked and our farm economy working. They should be highly prioritized for Covid-19 vaccination, following our nation's health care workers. The meat and poultry industry was among the first sectors to be challenged with the pandemic, and since March the industry has implemented effective programs and controls to stop the spread of Covid. Our efforts are working, but access to vaccines remains the most critical tool to protect this critical infrastructure workforce."
Since the spring, meat and poultry companies have implemented health recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration and, in many cases, additional measures. The industry has spent more than $1 bn. to date on procedures and controls to both support and protect employees. These measures include physical adaptations to facilities, personal protective equipment, enhanced sanitation, advanced ventilation systems, extensive testing and contact tracing, enhanced health care services, and more.
Earlier this week, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended the initial phase of the COVID-19 vaccination program (Phase 1a) should include providing vaccines to health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities.
KatieRose McCullough, Ph.D. MPH, Director, Regulatory and Scientific Affairs for the Meat Institute submitted written comments urging ACIP to prioritize vaccination for meat and poultry workers during the next phase (Phase 1b).
Including meat and poultry workers in Phase 1b will: