JBS vaccine clinic the ‘right thing to do’

JBS pulled out all the stops for the community COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

Despite the muggy weather on Saturday, four tents were set up in the northern parking lot of the company, and numerous employees stood by, waiting for Marshalltown residents to arrive for a vaccination . . . and for a free half pork loin, as well as a free grilled bratwurst or hamburger.

Plus, everyone who received a vaccination on Saturday from JBS was entered into a drawing for a year’s supply of free meat.

Human Resources Director Patrick Brue said there is a guaranteed winner from Marshalltown for the year’s supply.

“Beef, chicken or pork,” he said. “We have 50 locations across the country that are doing it and it is guaranteed one of our people will win.”

People who were previously vaccinated were not eligible.

“This is to really push to get our community vaccination rates up,” Brue said. “Here at the plant we are at over 85 percent now. I think our community is at 49 percent, so we really want to help push that up.”

The community of Marshalltown was very supportive of the event as it was being planned, he said. Whether or not there will be another JBS vaccination clinic in the future is not known. Brue said JBS will continue to be involved in community vaccination events so Marshalltown can achieve herd immunity.

“Especially with the delta variant coming,” he said. “We want to stop that from happening as much as possible in our community. We want to do the responsible thing. The best defense is a good offense.”

The delta variant became the most common strain of COVID-19 in Iowa in July. It is easily spread. While initial delta variant studies do not show more severe symptoms, they also show it has the potential to be worse.

Occupational Health Manager Jill Smith said the vaccines given on Saturday, which were from Johnson & Johnson, are not 100 percent effective against the delta variant.

“Vaccines are never 100 percent effective, but they’re advising people get the vaccine anyway, because it can lessen the symptoms,” Smith said.

She has heard the delta variant is in central Iowa, but has not seen any personally in Marshalltown. Smith said the variant is not more concerning, but there are different symptoms.

“That’s why we’re a little more alarmed and cautioning people more,” she said. “It’s a different type of the virus.”

As recipients approached the tent where the nurses were administering shots, Smith said the most common questions were whether or not it was going to hurt and how effective it was going be.

“I think the longer the vaccine is around and the more we’re educating people, the more comfortable they feel,” Smith said. “We’ve had good turnouts for our clinics.”

After a person received their inoculation, they were directed to sit near another tent for 15 minutes of observation.

Todd Carl, the JBS manager, said the business is getting good at hosting these clinics.

“This is our third clinic,” he said. “We have a lot of professionals here and a lot of volunteers who want to help.”

Carl was hoping to meet the goal of 119 people vaccinated on Saturday, which he said was aggressive.

“At the end of the day, JBS wants to do the right thing and as the largest employer here in the community, we have a responsibility to be a part of the community. Having this proactive clinic is the right thing to do.”

Contact Lana Bradstream at 641-753-6611 or lbradstream@timesrepublican.com.


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