Food processing in next group for vaccination

Food processing in next group for vaccination
Jan 15, 2021

The Ontario government has included workers in the food processing industry in Phase Two of vaccination rollout

By Jackie Clark
Staff Writer

The Ontario government announced the plan for the next stage of COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the province in a statement on Jan. 13. Phase Two of the plan will include frontline workers, including those working in the food processing industry.

Representatives from the agriculture industry expressed gratitude that these workers are deemed critical essential workers and included in this phase of vaccination.

“We recognize first responders, healthcare workers, and those in long-term care must be prioritized in terms of first access to vaccines. However, we are thankful meat processing essential workers have been identified as a priority for phase two of the vaccination rollout,” Rob Lipsett, president of Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO), said in a Jan. 14 joint statement from BFO and the Ontario Cattle Feeders’ Association (OCFA).

Mike Conlin, president of the OCFA, agreed.

“Prioritizing workers in meat production and inspection to receive early immunization of the COVID-19 vaccine will help reduce and/or mitigate further disruptions in the meat supply chain, reduce implications for farmers, and protect the welfare of animals and security of our food supply,” he said in the statement.

Phase Two individuals could receive doses as early as March 2021, and expected to be completed by the end of July 2021, followed by Phase Three (general population) vaccines beginning in August 2021, said the release from the provincial government.

Other groups that will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase Two are older adults (beginning with age 80+), individuals living and working in high-rosk congregate settings, individuals with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers, and other frontline workers including teachers and first responders, according to the Jan. 13 release.

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