SALISBURY, MD — On Monday, Perdue Farms associates received the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health. Eligible associates at Perdue's Accomac, VA operations received the vaccine, marking the beginning of the company's COVID-19 vaccine distribution to its associates across the US.
The voluntary vaccines were administered free-of-charge to associates at the plant's onsite Wellness Center. Perdue operates onsite Wellness Centers at its processing facilities, which are staffed by local healthcare providers and available free-of-charge to associates and their families. As more vaccines become available in the other states in which Perdue operates, the company is ready to provide the vaccines as quickly and widely as supply allows.
READ MORE: Tyson Foods, Foster Farms Begin Vaccinating Employees (published 2/5)
"Essential frontline meat and poultry associates have worked tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the continuity of America's food supply. The health of our people has been – and remains – our top priority throughout this uncharted situation. Today, we're pleased to take another step in protecting our associates, their families, and our communities through this first round of vaccine distribution," said Randy Day, Chief Executive Officer, Perdue Farms. "We're grateful for our partnership with local leaders at the Virginia Department of Public Health and to Governor Northam as we maintain the safety of our associates as our primary focus."
Since it became clear last fall that COVID-19 vaccines would soon be available, Perdue immediately began to develop plans to distribute vaccines as quickly and efficiently as possible to its frontline associates. Among other steps, this included preparing educational materials in multiple languages about the importance of the vaccines, advocating for poultry processing workers to receive priority in state and national distribution efforts, and training facility Wellness Center staff according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
In early December, Perdue called on the CDC and governors of 15 states where it operates to prioritize essential meat and poultry industry workers, and their families and co-habitants, for vaccine distribution. Perdue also offered resources to assist the CDC and states in this effort, recognizing that the success of our country's vaccination requires education and community outreach efforts. Later in December, the CDC recommended that states include meat and poultry processing workers in phase 1B.
Perdue echoes the guidance of federal, state, and local health officials that vaccination does not eliminate the need to continue strict COVID-19 mitigation techniques such as wearing a mask, frequent hand washing, and practicing social distancing, and continues to enforce these guidelines in all of its locations.
Perdue Farms is a fourth-generation, family-owned, US food and agriculture company. The premium protein portfolio within the Perdue Foods business, including the flagship PERDUE brand, Niman Ranch, Panorama Grass Fed Beef, and Coleman Natural as well as pet brands, Spot Farms and Full Moon, is available through retail, foodservice and a new direct-to-consumer website, PerdueFarms.com.