SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Tyson Foods is requiring all of its U.S. workforce to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the Arkansas-based food processor announced Tuesday.

Tyson Foods says employees at its U.S. office locations must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 1, 2021.

All other employees are required to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1, 2021, subject to ongoing discussions with unions, according to a Tyson Foods press release.

Tyson Foods says it is the largest U.S. food company to require COVID-19 vaccinations for its entire workforce.

“Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the single most effective thing we can do to protect our team members, their families and their communities,” said Dr. Claudia Coplein, Chief Medical Officer, Tyson Foods. “With rapidly rising COVID-19 case counts of contagious, dangerous variants leading to increasing rates of severe illness and hospitalization among the U.S. unvaccinated population, this is the right time to take the next step to ensure a fully vaccinated workforce.”

According to Tyson Foods, in support of efforts to fully vaccinate all team members, the company will also provide $200 to frontline employees, also pending discussions with unions.

This is an expansion of the company’s existing policy of compensating employees for up to four hours of regular pay if they are vaccinated outside of their normal shift or through an external source.

Tyson Foods says almost half of its U.S. workforce has already been vaccinated.

Exceptions to the mandate will “involve workers who seek medical or religious accommodation,” according to Tuesday’s release.

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