- In a note Sent to the White House Coronavirus Response Task Force, the Consumer Brands Association highlighted the challenges the industry faces in navigating the state-by-state patchwork approach to COVID-19 vaccinations. With food and other manufacturers operating in all 50 states, “the industry is directly feeling the impact of an inconsistent vaccination program, âsaid Geoff Freeman, group president and CEO.
- The ABC outlined five steps that it believes would create a more efficient immunization process, including providing federal incentives to state and local jurisdictions for adherence to immunization phases; encourage the use of a uniform system of identification and registration of eligible beneficiaries; partnership with CPG manufacturers on a multilingual and multicultural vaccination education campaign; have states provide projections on vaccine availability so that employers can enroll, educate and facilitate immunization of frontline workers; and prioritize public-private partnerships to help authorities overcome distribution challenges and improve supply chain resilience.
- As the United States distributes their vaccine, a handful of companies such as JBS and Chobani are offering incentives, such as bonuses or paid time off for their employees to get vaccinated. Tyson Foods would offer vaccines on site in its facilities while employees are at work. At the same time, food manufacturers have said they are awaiting advice from state and local authorities on when their workers can be vaccinated.
As the United States slowly rolls out vaccines to millions of Americans, there are signs of growing frustration among CPG companies over the rambling patchwork approach being used across the country. âThere are 50 states with 50 different vaccination plans – only some of which align with federal government guidelines – all moving at different speeds,â the ABC said. in his note of January 27.
The commercial group, which estimates it represents 1.7 million essential frontline workers, say it “welcomes the COVID-19 leadership that the Biden administration desperately needs “and hopes the advice from the CBA will be helpful in developing” an effective and coherent national immunization strategy “.
A Food Dive analysis found that most states plan to allow workers to be vaccinated in Phase 1b with other critical or essential workers. But several states modify their vaccine roadmap to reflect delays in their administration or supply constraints. In California, for example, there was a debate about moving to an age priority over all essential workers.
âVaccination ‘traffic jams’ are delaying the protection of vulnerable essential frontline workers, as companies and their employers must navigate a jurisdictional patchwork of ambiguous approaches to vaccination eligibility,â ABC said. âMany state and county jurisdictions have downright deprioritized essential frontline workers. ”
GPC manufacturers want to ensure that their employees have access to the vaccine as soon as possible, not only for their safety, but also so that the company has an adequate staff of trained people to manage and oversee operations. At the start of the epidemic, manufacturers, especially of meat and poultry, were hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak. With factories temporarily closed for cleaning, there were brief pockets of meat and poultry shortages in the United States, and grocers placed temporary limits on how much consumers could buy.
The ABC stressed in its note to the White House that it should work with the makers of CPGs on a multilingual and multicultural education campaign on vaccines. According to the Los Angeles Times, there are an estimated 175,000 immigrants working in meat-packing jobs in the United States, and the industry has historically relied on foreign-born workers. The esteemed JBS USA meat processor In regards to 60% to 90% of its âdiverse workforceâ in individual facilities are ready to get vaccinated.
It is unclear how much a letter from the CBA will influence the White House, but the fact that the trade group represents nearly 2 million people who manufacture more than 1,700 brands that are used regularly by consumers could lead the Biden administration to take note of it. Additionally, Freeman’s decision to highlight the challenges frontline workers face and the growing frustration occurring across the industry may create some urgency for action.