SALISBURY, MD. –  On Feb. 8, Perdue Farms workers at its Accomac, Va., facility who were eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine began receiving inoculations.

The poultry producer said the vaccines were distributed in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health. The voluntary vaccines were available free-of-charge to eligible workers and their families at the on-site wellness center.

“Essential front-line meat and poultry associates have worked tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the continuity of America’s food supply,” said Randy Day, chief executive officer of Perdue Farms. “The health of our people has been – and remains – our top priority throughout this uncharted situation.”

Perdue said the wellness center was staffed by local healthcare providers.

The company said as more vaccines become available in the other states in which Perdue operates, it will provide the vaccines as quickly and widely as supply allows.

Along with preparing for more vaccinations across its company, Perdue said it arranged educational materials in multiple languages about the importance of vaccines.

During December 2020, Perdue sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urging the agency and governors of states where the company operates to prioritize meat and poultry workers, their families and co-habitants.

The CDC has recommended that meat and poultry processing workers be in phase 1B of vaccine rollouts.