Tyson to require COVID-19 vaccinations for all U.S. employees

Springdale-based Tyson Foods will require all of its U.S. employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, the company announced on Tuesday.

Those in leadership positions must be fully vaccinated by Sept. 24, while employees working in an office have until Oct. 1 to meet the requirement. All other U.S. employees must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1, and new-hires must have proof of full vaccination prior to their start date.

The news came in a memo from Donnie King, the company’s president and CEO.

“We did not take this decision lightly,” said King, adding that the company has spent months encouraging its workers to get vaccinated, but less than half of its 120,000 workers have received a vaccine.

“In some communities, doctors and hospitals are once again overwhelmed, while the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting nearly all hospitalizations and deaths in the U.S. are among those who are unvaccinated,” said King. “It is abundantly clear that getting vaccinated is the single most effective thing we can do to protect ourselves, our families and our communities.”

Frontline employees will receive a $200 bonus once they are verified as being fully vaccinated, King said.

Other large companies that have announced vaccination mandates include Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Uber. Walmart announced that all corporate employees must receive vaccines, but not its retail workers. Target this week said it will require masks, but not vaccines for its workers. Other mask mandates for employees were recently announced by Home Depot, Kohl’s, Kroger and Publix.