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A Tyson Foods Inc. facility stands in Lexington, Nebraska, U.S., on Friday, April 24, 2020. Photo: Dan Brouillette/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tyson Foods will require all of its employees in the U.S. to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, the company said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The move makes Tyson Foods the largest U.S. food company — with 139,000 team members — to require vaccinations among all its employees.

  • To date, less than half of all U.S. Tyson Foods employees, about 56,000, have been vaccinated.

Details: All employees working in Tyson Foods' U.S. office locations must be vaccinated by Oct. 1. All other team members have until Nov. 1 to get the vaccine.

  • Tyson will also provide $200 to fully vaccinated frontline team members.
  • Onsite vaccination events will be scheduled for employees, and the company will work with local health departments and healthcare providers to increase vaccine access, the company said.
  • Exceptions to the vaccination mandate will granted to employees seeking medical or religious accommodation, the company added.

What they're saying: "We did not take this decision lightly. We have spent months encouraging our team members to get vaccinated – today, under half of our team members are," Tyson president and CEO Donnie King wrote in a memo to staff.

  • "We take this step today because nothing is more important than our team members’ health and safety, and we thank them for the work they do, every day, to help us feed this country, and our world."

The big picture: The meatpacking industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, with many criticizing companies, including Tyson Foods, for not adequately protecting their workforces.

  • Tyson Foods was forced to close its doors at meat processing plants early in the pandemic due to coronavirus outbreaks.
  • The outbreaks at Tyson and other meatpacking plants strained supply chains across the U.S.

Go deeper: More corporations are requiring workers to get vaccinated

Go deeper

16 hours ago - Health

Supreme Court declines to block Maine health care workers vaccine mandate

A Maine health care worker prepares vaccine dose. Photo: Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear an emergency appeal of a vaccine mandate for Maine health care workers.

The big picture: The mandate, which was announced in August by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, says that Maine health care workers need to be vaccinated by Oct. 29 or risk losing their jobs and not qualifying for unemployment benefits.

20 hours ago - Health

J&J expects $2.5 billion of vaccine sales this year

J&J's COVID-19 vaccine. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson registered $502 million of global revenue from its COVID-19 vaccine in the third quarter, bringing year-to-date vaccine sales to $766 million.

The big picture: J&J, which is selling the vaccine at a not-for-profit price of $7.50 per dose, still expects to generate $2.5 billion of COVID vaccine sales this year, executives said Tuesday. But that total will still dwarf the use and sales of the vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

16 hours ago - Health

Puerto Rico leads U.S. COVID vaccination rates

A mass vaccination event at the Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on March 31. Photo: Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images

Puerto Rico has the highest percentage of people fully vaccinated against the coronavirus in the United States as of Oct. 19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: The island has managed to accomplish such feats amid frequent power outages, earthquakes and high dependence on imports of health technologies from outside the region.