Tyson Foods said more than 96 percent of its nearly 120,000 employees have been vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to the company’s Nov. 1 vaccine deadline. Tyson has over 4000 employees at its Amarillo plant. 

The meatpacking giant based in Springdale, Ark., said the number of vaccinated workers doubled since announcing its mandate in August, Tyson President and CEO Donnie King said in a statement on Tuesday. 

“We couldn’t be happier to say that, as of today, over 96% of our active team members are vaccinated – or nearly 60,000 more than when we made the announcement on August 3. This is an incredible result,” King said

“Like many, I have worked at this company for decades, and I would be hard-pressed to think of a time when we came together as we did over the past few weeks. We did this together, and we should all be incredibly proud,” he added.

King told employees the company respects their right to choose whether or not to get vaccinated and said the company would welcome them back if they were vaccinated at a later date. 

“I’d also like to say to those who remain unvaccinated — this is your choice, and we respect that choice,” King said. “If you change your mind and want to rejoin Tyson — let us know. Our doors are open.”

Tyson is the only major company in the industry with a vaccine mandate, which agreed to 20 hours of paid sick leave for all employees and provided medical and religious exemptions, The Associated Press (AP) reported. 

Meatpacking plants across the industry were forced to close temporarily early in the pandemic due to sick workers and quarantines. 

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