Today, the provincial government announced that front-line workers in grocery stores will have early access to COVID-19 vaccines.
UFCW 1518 has been advocating since January for early vaccination for front-line workers in grocery stores, industrial food plants, and pharmacies.
“We are pleased to hear the announcement made today by Premier Horgan that our members in grocery stores will have priority access to vaccines as another important layer of protection against COVID-19,” said UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak. “Our members in grocery stores are working in spaces that have a higher rate of exposures, so having early access to the vaccine not only helps to protect them at work but also their families and the thousands of people of the public that they interact with in stores every month.”
Premier John Horgan announced that over 300,000 workers will be eligible for early access to the AstraZeneca vaccine, including people who work in grocery stores, wholesale and warehouses, and many other front-line settings.
Many grocery stores are ideally suited to on-site vaccination clinics through their pharmacy departments. Where possible, these pharmacies will hold worker-only clinics, so employees can get vaccinated as part of their regular workday.
However, where on-site vaccination clinics are not feasible, UFCW 1518 will continue to advocate that front-line workers receive four uninterrupted hours off work to attend their appointment so that they do not have to choose between being paid or getting their first dose of the vaccine.
Many of our members in Community Health and food processing plants have received their first dose of the vaccine at on-site clinics and we have seen upwards of 95% of workers at worksites being vaccinated as a result. UFCW 1518 reported these findings at consultations held with the government and health authorities to speed up vaccinations. Therefore, we are pleased to hear that the government will be creating special on-site clinics wherever possible to remove barriers to vaccination for front-line workers.
UFCW 1518 will keep members updated with any information about COVID-19 vaccines as it becomes available. If you are a member and are not receiving emails from UFCW 1518, please email [email protected] to update your contact information.