LIVINGSTON, CALIF. – In cooperation with the local department of health and Vons Pharmacy, Foster Farms began offering the first dose of the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 to 1,000 employees of its poultry processing plant located on Cherry Avenue in Fresno on Feb. 2. The company plans to complete the administration of the first dose by Feb. 5 and follow up with the second dose in early March. The vaccines will be administered on-site at the plant by trained staff of Vons and supervised by a registered nurse.
The company said it has worked to protect employees from spreading the virus by implementing rigorous screening programs, including administering more than 100,000 COVID-19 tests over the past five months and adhering to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The vaccination campaign, which is being administered in cooperation with the Fresno County Department of Public Health (FCDPH) and Vons Pharmacy represents the county’s first large-scale vaccination at a major food processing plant in the county, according to the company and it hopes to serve a model implemented at its other plants and for other food companies. The Fresno Health Department has prioritized the vaccination of agricultural workers along with healthcare workers and citizens over the age of 65 to ensure the safety of those at highest risk and protecting those employees and their communities.
Ira Brill, vice president of communications with Foster Farms, said, “We greatly value the commitment and professionalism of the Fresno Department of Public Health. We have fully aligned our resources to ensure the program is successfully carried out for the benefit of our employees and the community. This includes partnering with Vons Pharmacy, tapping into their expertise to oversee administration of the vaccine.”
The company said the vaccinations are being offered at no cost to workers and employees will be compensated for the time they spend getting the vaccination. The vaccines are available on a voluntary basis, but the company anticipates a majority of its 1,000 workers at the Fresno facility will participate in the campaign, which includes educating employees using a multilingual communication program.
“The Fresno County Department of Public Health is pleased to work with Foster Farms on this pilot project to learn how large employers can implement vaccination clinics at their worksite, including learning communication strategies, understanding vaccine uptake, administering doses in different workplace settings and providing safety protocols,” said David Pomaville, FCDPH director. “We want to design a scalable model for vaccination clinics that can be used by other employers.”
Narayanan Ramachandran, director of Pharmacy for Vons, added, “Throughout the pandemic, the communities we serve have trusted our pharmacy teams to play a critical role in maintaining their health and wellness. We are proud to partner with Foster Farms working in close coordination with the Fresno County Public Health Department to administer the vaccine safely and efficiently.”