This letter is to update you on the current state of COVID-19 vaccines and when we may have access to them. The country has two approved vaccines, but there are not enough doses to immediately vaccinate everyone. Therefore, the CDC has defined the following recommended phases to distribute the vaccine:
I’m excited to say that the CDC has recognized the importance of our industry and included food production in “frontline essential workers” (see below). This means we are in Phase 1b, the second proposed phase.
We do not know the timing of these phases, since they will depend on the number of doses received by the State of Wisconsin. The CDC published an example rollout calendar, which has Phase 1b (frontline essential) in mid to late February 2021 and Phase 2 (general public) in May / June 2021. However, the State of Wisconsin will decide how closely to follow the CDC’s recommendations. Over the coming weeks, we will work with state and local officials and the health networks to keep up to date on the timing and process of the vaccine rollout.
As with the influenza vaccine (flu shot), we will encourage our partners to get the vaccine and work to make it convenient to receive. To answer questions on the vaccine, the CDC has a webpage of Frequently Asked Questions . Once available, vaccination is the most effective tool we have for removing the risk of COVID-19 for our partners, families, and friends. It is an awe-inspiring accomplishment that multiple vaccines were created this quickly. The process of quickly creating safe, effective vaccines has the opportunity to be a huge advancement in modern medicine.
Finally, as the year 2020 comes to a close, we want to thank you all for your dedication, perseverance, cooperation, patience and understanding during the pandemic. Your leadership and HR teams remain available to provide resources, answer questions and support you. Please take care to protect yourselves and loved ones during the holiday season through wearing a mask, social distancing, and hand washing.
Keith M. Lindsey
President & CEO
Charts from "Phased Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccines", Kathleen Dooling, MD, MPH, ACIP Meeting, December 20, 2020