A mobile vaccination hub has delivered more than 110 COVID-19 vaccines to staff at Norco’s ice cream factory in Lismore and The Casino Food Co-op’s meat processing plant in Casino.

Key points:

  • A mobile hub vaccinates more than 110 workers at Australia’s largest meat and dairy co-operatives
  • Norco’s cash payment of $150 for its double dosed employees has driven up its vaccination rate
  • The Casino Food Co-op used its recent COVID-19 case as an incentive for staff to get vaccinated

Both co-operatives are hopeful of reaching a target of an 80 per cent vaccinated workforce, across all sites, by next month.

Norco’s general manager of manufacturing foods, Adrian Kings, said the vaccination program included a financial incentive to encourage uptake of the vaccine.

“We’ve certainly been talking about the benefits of getting vaccinated at toolbox meetings, communications from the CEO, and other members of the broader business.

“It’s only about motivation and engagement, and if some sort of reward like that does motivate a percentage of people to do it well that’s great, we’re in for motivating people to get vaccinated.” 

The cash incentive is for any Norco employee at its dairy processing plants to its rural stores and stockfeed mills.

A man in spectacles and a blue shirt

Adrian Kings is Norco’s general manager of Manufacturing Foods.(Supplied: Norco)

While the uptake is in the low 70 per cent at its ice cream factory and Raleigh milk factory, Mr Kings said 88 per cent were committed to getting vaccinated.

But Mr Kings said the rate was much lower among the workforce at its milk factory at Labrador on the Gold Coast. 

Worker with mobile vaccination team dressed in blue PPE.

The mobile vaccination hub operated by First Light Healthcare set up at Norco’s ice cream factory in Lismore.(Supplied: Norco)

Casino meatworkers urged to get jab after COVID-19 case

The Casino Food Co-op has used a recent COVID-19 positive case at its Casino site, which it shut down for a day as a precaution, to urge its staff to get vaccinated.

Group human resources manager Dan Smith said six close contacts and 20 casual contacts of the administration worker were identified, with all returning negative test results.

“But we were quite comfortable with our procedures that we’d implemented in the last 18 months, and honestly to give our procedures a run with a positive case was a great outcome for us, to only lose one day’s production.”

A man wearing a mask with a brick wall in the background

Dan Smith is the group human resources manager for The Casino Food Co-op.(ABC Rural: Kim Honan)

Mr Smith said no financial incentive had been offered but the co-op had tried to make the vaccination process convenient for workers.

“We’ll continue to work with employees that choose not to be vaccinated and we’ll always have the offer available to them if they choose to change their decision.” 

A man receives a COVID-19 vaccination from a nurse wearing blue PPE.

Meat worker Daniel Hammond receives his first Pfizer dose at the mobile vaccination hub set up at The Casino Food Co-op.(ABC Rural: Kim Honan)

In August, the co-operative trialled a vaccination hub for staff at its pork processing plant at Booyong, north of Lismore. 

A similar number of workers at its beef processing and tannery plants at its Casino site, as well a number of family members, were vaccinated in its second hub. 

First outreach clinic for First Light

The team from First Light Healthcare delivered vaccine doses to the factory staff at both locations. 

Principal GP Tonya Coren said it was a great initiative by the co-operatives to make the vaccines accessible to their workforce. 

“That’s why we’re here on-site to make sure that all those barriers to get staff vaccinated are removed, and the managers here have been fantastic to co-ordinate this and make it as easy as possible,” Dr Coren said. 

A woman wearing a mask, visor and blue PPE working on a laptop.

First Light Healthcare’s Dr Tonya Coren at its mobile vaccination clinic at The Casino Food Co-op in Casino.(ABC Rural: Kim Honan)

“Today is our first one, which is an outreach clinic but all our other vaccination clinics that we’ve been doing have been in our Ballina premises.”

The medical practice has worked with NSW Health and vaccinated between 1,000 to 2,000 teachers in the past two months across the Northern Rivers.

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Recycling the waste COVID-19 has created(Emilia Terzon)

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Dairy co-op offers cash incentive for COVID vaccination
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