While everyone agrees that doctors, nurses and other health care workers should be first; the real question is who should be next for the vaccine?
Food industry workers need to be prioritized for the Covid-19 vaccine.
The good news is that the process of delivering a vaccine has already begun and should be instrumental in turning the corner of the pandemic. Unfortunately, it can’t be delivered to everybody at once. In determination who gets to the head of the line a prioritization decided by age, health, occupation and location has been implemented. But, what about food processors?
The food and beverage industry has said it supports this prioritization of “essential workers in critical infrastructure industries, including those responsible for ensuring the continuity of our nation’s food supply,” after healthcare workers. It’s also my opinion that food industry workers deserve a high priority for COVID vaccinations. They perform a vital/essential service that has to be done indoors, often in close quarters. If we want food – food safety then a high prioritization is mandatory.
“Worker absenteeism remains a concern in manufacturing facilities, posing a threat to the maintenance of consistent inventories of life-sustaining products,” Betsey Booren, senior vice president of regulatory and technical affairs at CBA
The Food and Environment Reporting Network (FERN) reported that 75,000+ food manufacturing workers have contracted COVID-19, and at least 339 have died. These numbers don’t include restaurants and other workers from the service and hospitality sectors. – Report – Map. Devastating to plants with some even closing down temporarily.
Although many food processing plants have spent millions to implement precautions such as temperature checks, plastic barriers, mandatory PPE and testing, the coronavirus continues to spread. A vaccine is needed immediately.
Amid growing optimism that a covid-19 vaccine will soon be available, industry groups are moving aggressively to ensure their workers will be some of the first to get it. A good thing in my opinion.