Tyson Foods to require COVID-19 vaccinations at its meatpacking plants - including the ones in Kansas

Alice Mannette
The Hutchinson News

Springdale, Ark. – Starting Nov. 1, Tyson Foods will require COVID-19 vaccinations for its U.S. workforce, including those at plants in Holcomb and Hutchinson. The company is also providing $200 to fully vaccinated frontline team members.

"As we’ve done with our 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, there is a vaccine verification process that includes team members showing their vaccination card," said Derek Burleson, a spokesperson Tyson.

This action, which is subject to ongoing discussions with locations represented by unions, makes Tyson Foods one of the largest U.S. food companies to require COVID-19 vaccinations for all of its workforce. Both plants in Kansas are not union plants. According to the company, almost half of Tyson Foods’ U.S. workforce is vaccinated, and coronavirus infection rates among team members remain low.

Tyson Foods Inc. in South Hutchinson, Kansas.

“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 of Tyson Foods, said in a release. “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.”

Since February, Tyson Foods has hosted more than 100 vaccination events, the company said, and more than 56,000 of their U.S. team members are vaccinated. Additional onsite vaccination events are being scheduled.

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According to the company, there will be exceptions to the vaccination mandate for medical or religious reasons. To date, Tyson Foods has spent more than $700 million on COVID-19 related materials. This money was spent on masks, face shields and protective barriers. Tyson's office workers are required to be vaccinated by Oct. 1.