SPRINGDALE, Ark. — Tyson Foods Inc. announced Wednesday it will partner with Matrix Medical Network, a clinical services company, to deploy mobile health clinics and clinical staff to administer vaccinations and provide vaccine communications and counseling to its Perry workforce beginning in early 2021 and continuing throughout the year.
In a statement, Tyson said the collaboration with Matrix will ensure the company’s entire U.S. workforce is educated about and has access to the COVID-19 vaccines. Tyson Foods Inc. employs about 140,000 workers in more than 300 plants worldwide.
The partnership will provide third-party information about the vaccines and vaccination process in multiple languages from resources such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the statement said.
“Providing vaccine education and accessibility is a critical part of our ongoing commitment to put the health and safety of our team members first,” said Dean Banks, president and chief executive officer of Tyson Foods.
The Tyson statement said that because the availability of the vaccine will vary by state, the company “is committed to a long-term strategy that ensures any team member who wants a vaccine will receive one. Vaccines will be administered at the earliest opportunity following guidance from health officials and in sufficient quantities to ensure effective scheduling and delivery. Tyson will strongly encourage employees to take the vaccination.”
Mark Lauritsen, vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International, the union representing Tyson workers, said protecting essential workers is vital to keeping the food supply secure as the pandemic worsens.
“Tyson workers are bravely serving on the frontlines so that millions of families can put food on the table during this crisis,” Lauritson said. “As the largest union for America’s food processing workers, UFCW will continue to work with industry leaders like Tyson in a unified effort to expedite vaccinations for workers who are essential to keeping our communities strong at this critical point in the pandemic.”
The statement said that Tyson has hired a chief medical officer and an additional 200 nurses and administrative staff this year and now employs an occupational health staff of almost 600. These medical professionals screen for symptoms, conduct testing and track cases to help care for team members if they become ill.
“Tyson Foods’ medical professionals work with health and government officials and team members as part of the company’s efforts to help communities where we operate better understand the coronavirus and the protective measures that can be taken to help prevent spread,” the statement said. “Long-term, these professionals will provide support for the company’s overall team member health and wellness efforts.”