SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Workers at the Smithfield plant in Sioux Falls are feeling forgotten when it comes to getting the COVID-19 vaccine. The plant employs about 3,600 workers.
About a year ago, the Smithfield plant in Sioux Falls was considered a COVID-19 hotspot. The workers here, know how fast it can spread. KELOLAND News talked with one employee by phone who says her co-workers are scared and they feel the government doesn’t care about them.
Workers at Smithfield are part of group 1E, Which includes public-facing workers in essential and critical infrastructure. At this point, the State Health Department Covid website shows Smithfield workers can expect to start receiving vaccinations in mid-April.
BJ Motley is president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 304-A. He visits the Smithfield plant almost every day and says workers are constantly asking him about when the vaccine will be made available to workers.
“We’ve had cases still down there and they’re just afraid you know, they feel like I guess the company doesn’t really care you know about their well being why does it seems like everybody else is getting vaccinated but them,” said Motley.
Smithfield workers in Nebraska found out they will be getting their shots next week. The worker KELOLAND News talked with in Sioux Falls says she is happy for them, she just hopes that will prompt South Dakota to increase efforts to get the Sioux falls workers vaccinated as soon as possible
“They see everybody getting vaccinated except them and they’re supposed to be considered essential workers and they feel like you know they’re just not getting the proper attention as you would say,” said Motley.
The vaccine for the Nebraska meatpacking plants is coming from an organization called One World Community Health.
They will distribute the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that they are getting directly from the federal government.