A man walks into a Cargill meat processing factory. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

A man walks into a Cargill meat processing factory. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Alberta meat plant, site of COVID-19 outbreak last year, to get vaccination clinics

Nearly half of the 2,200 workers at the Cargill facility contracted the novel coronavirus and two employees died last April

Alberta Health Services says plans are underway to set up COVID-19 vaccination clinics at a meat-packing plant that was the site of a major outbreak last year.

Nearly half of the 2,200 workers at the Cargill facility, which shut for two weeks last April, contracted the novel coronavirus and two employees died.

Immunizations at the High River plant south of Calgary will be provided by occupational health nurses employed by the company, the provincial health agency said Thursday.

Alberta Health Services is partnering with the Alberta International Medical Graduates Association and three primary care networks on the effort. Health agency and primary care staff are to provide on-site support with scheduling and flow of the clinics.

It says the pilot could be expanded to other plants in the coming weeks.

Cargill said in a statement that vaccines are voluntary, but any employee who wants one will get one. The company said it is working with provincial health authorities on setting up the clinic as soon as vaccines are available.

Meat-processing plant workers are included in the next phase of Alberta’s vaccine rollout, which is slated to begin this month.

“We have been unwavering in our commitment to protect the health and safety of our employees, who are working tirelessly to ensure millions of people have food to eat,” said Jon Nash, global lead for Cargill’s protein and salt business. “We are applying these same values when it comes to vaccinations.”

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