Dairy Leads in Nationwide Vaccination Effort
May 4, 2021
NMPF became a founding member of the COVID-19 Community Corps April 1, joining a nationwide effort to increase vaccine confidence while reinforcing basic prevention measures.
While the COVID-19 vaccine supply and availability has increased, hesitancy persists, creating challenges to achieving the herd immunity required to relax COVID-19 restrictions and restart the economy. Dairy farmers and their cooperatives are well-positioned to build on trusted relationships with employees, customers, and community members, and encourage vaccination in rural communities nationwide.
To support the dairy community’s continued leadership in workforce safety, NMPF distributed a COVID-19 Vaccination and the Dairy Workforce resource April 16. The toolbox was developed to help dairy farmers and cooperatives communicate with employees about the safety and benefits of COVID-19 vaccines and includes steps employers can take to help their workforce get vaccinated. NMPF also continues to update its Guide to the COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout to ensure dairy farmers can easily reference up-to-date information on accessing vaccines and scheduling appointments.
Member co-ops have also stepped up as leaders in protecting the public and reviving the economy.
- Farmers and cooperatives across the country are putting together vaccination events for farmers, staff and farmworkers in the fields where they live and work. Natural Prairie Dairy, a member of Select Milk Producers Inc. organized a vaccination event for 300 of its employees at its organic dairy farm in Dalhart, Texas. And Michigan Milk Producers Association has been driving employees to vaccination sites when necessary, reporting that up to 90 percent of employees are now vaccinated.
- At Dairy Farmers of America, co-op employees are offered two hours of pay for each vaccine they receive; at Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Association, employees receive a $50 Amazon gift card upon receiving a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine; and at Lone Star Milk Producers, employees can take paid time off to get their shots;
- Northwest Dairy Association/Darigold, Associated Milk Producers Inc. and Prairie Farms, among others, have organized vaccinations at their processing plants;
Vaccinating essential workers, including the dairy workforce, is important because of their role in maintaining critical infrastructure operations and their increased risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. Vaccination is one of many important tools to help stop the pandemic.