Perdue Farms Inc., the fourth-biggest U.S. poultry producer, said it sent letters to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and 15 states requesting that workers at poultry and meat plants are prioritized for the coronavirus vaccine.
Perdue said food workers should get the vaccination in the so-called 1B phase, after health care workers and those in long-term care receive it in the 1A phase. So far, states have been allowed to devise their own plans to roll out vaccinations.
The letters follow similar requests by other groups and companies including the North American Meat Institute.
"We have not seen vocal support for vaccine prioritization from other individual poultry companies," Perdue said in a statement. The company wrote to states where it operates, including California, Georgia, Maryland and Texas.
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The Food and Drug Administration was scrutinizing potential allergic reactions to Pfizer Inc's covid-19 vaccine as it prepared to authorize its use Friday.
Thousands of meat-plant workers caught the virus earlier this year, prompting slaughterhouses to shut down. Meanwhile, JBS SA, the world's largest meat supplier, last week said it put 8% of its U.S. workforce who were vulnerable to the virus on paid leave as positive cases rose in much of the country.