On August 23, the UFCW welcomed the move by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue full approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, calling it a key step to addressing vaccine hesitancy and boosting vaccination efforts as the COVID-19 Delta surge continues.
The UFCW has been one of the strongest champions of vaccines for America’s essential workers. In December 2020, the UFCW called on the CDC and governors in all 50 states to prioritize these workers for early vaccine access. In early 2021, the UFCW launched a national vaccine campaign and hosted community vaccine clinics in California, Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois and many other states to help essential workers get vaccinated and protect their families. Our union also organized digital vaccine town halls this year with Dr. Anthony Fauci, as well as health experts from the White House, CDC, and FDA, to answer questions from workers hesitant about the vaccine, with a focus on Latino and African-American workers who have been among the hardest hit by COVID-19.
“The FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine is a historic step in our nation’s fight against the COVID-19 Delta threat and surge so many of our communities are now facing,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone in a statement. “We are hopeful that all unvaccinated Americans and essential workers who have waited for full approval, will now take the important step to protect themselves and others and get vaccinated as soon as possible.”
“With more employers considering vaccine mandates after this new FDA approval, the UFCW continues to urge all businesses to negotiate any vaccine requirements with their frontline workers,” Perrone said. “Ensuring that workers have a voice in COVID workplace safety policies is critical to guaranteeing these measures are implemented fairly and build the trust and strong consensus needed for these safeguards to be effective. Companies must also guarantee paid leave so that all their frontline workers can get the vaccine without fear of losing a paycheck.”
“As the largest union for essential workers in grocery stores and meatpacking plants, the UFCW has already helped many of its 1.3 million members to get vaccinated and is urging all Americans to get vaccinated and wear masks in public to help stop the spread of COVID,” Perrone added. “By taking these important steps, we can all do our part to help protect America’s essential workers and our loved ones. Working together, we can and will turn the tide on this deadly pandemic.”