CHICAGO, Jun 24 (.) – Want free meat for a year? Get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Meat processor JBS SA said Thursday that it will give away beef, pork and chicken over the next year to 50 American families who participate in company-sponsored vaccination clinics over the next several weeks.
The company’s Brazilian unit in the United States and Pilgrim’s Pride, a poultry producer also controlled by JBS, came under fire last year when thousands of company workers fell ill with COVID-19.
Processing plants in the United States were temporarily closed to contain the outbreaks, restricting meat supplies and increasing prices.
The firms said nearly 70% of their 66,000 US employees are now fully vaccinated and that they hope the meat gifts will encourage rural residents, not just their employees, to get vaccinated.
“We have made great progress and our vaccination rates are much higher than the rates in the communities we call home,” said Andre Nogueira, CEO of JBS USA.
The contest is the latest incentive offered by companies and government officials to attract those who have doubts about vaccination. In various parts of the world, those who access the doses have at their disposal benefits ranging from live chickens to marijuana.
In the United States, President Joe Biden likely will not meet the goal of 70% of adults receiving at least one COVID-19 vaccine by July 4, authorities said.
The first round of JBS clinics begins Saturday in Greeley, Colorado, where the company operates a huge beef plant. Last year, six of the facility’s workers died of COVID-19 and nearly 300 were infected, according to state data.
There was a “failure of many meat processors to adequately protect their workers from COVID-19, resulting in tens of thousands of cases and hundreds of deaths,” US Sen. Debbie Stabenow said at a hearing Wednesday on the beef market. .
(Reporting by Tom Polansek. Edited in Spanish by Marion Giraldo)