Tyson Foods has this week announced a requirement for all its US workforce to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
The food giant said it will require those at its US office locations to be fully vaccinated by October 1, this year, and all other workers to be fully vaccinated by November 1.
This action makes Tyson Foods the largest US food company to require Covid-19 vaccinations for its entire workforce.
The company said that so far, almost half of its workforce has been vaccinated and Covid-19 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,” Dr. Claudia Coplein, chief medical officer with Tyson Foods said.
"With rapidly rising Covid-19 case counts of contagious, dangerous variants leading to increasing rates of severe illness and hospitalisation among the US unvaccinated population, this is the right time to take the next step to ensure a fully vaccinated workforce."
$200 to frontline team members
To support efforts to fully vaccinate its workforce, the company said it will also provide $200 (€169) to its frontline team members.
This is an expansion of the company’s existing policy of compensating workers for up to four hours of regular pay if they are vaccinated outside of their normal shift or through an external source.
Exceptions to the vaccination mandate will involve workers who seek medical or religious accommodation.
To date, Tyson Foods said it has spent "more than $700 million related to Covid-19".
This includes efforts to combat its spread, such as: buying masks, face shields and temperature scanners; installing protective barriers; and providing onsite testing and vaccinations.
It also partnered with an independent medical provider to bring medical services onsite, hired an additional 200 nurses and its first chief medical officer.
Tyson Foods is one of the world's largest food companies, headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas.