Hundreds of Hazeldene's Chicken Farm workers will line up for a coronavirus vaccination this week as part of a Bendigo Health outreach program.
The program is seeing Bendigo Health's outreach team ensuring key industries and employees are vaccinated.
Last year, Hazeldene's was forced to close part of its processing plant when coronavirus was detected in an employee. The cluster grew as high as 37.
Hazeldene's director John Hazeldene said it was one of the worst things he had gone through in business.
"We had 800,000 chickens growing every week and can process them because it's automated, but we had no one to pack them. We wasted so many birds," he said.
"Our packing rooms have 400 people in a reasonably large area. Since the outbreak, we've had segregated areas with people wearing masks. The workers have been very good and we are being as safe as we possibly can be.
"I think this vaccination is vitally important if it gets us through this and stops any lockdowns happening again. Most of our workers have common sense and realise they don't want to go through what we went through last year when they were out of work. We will certainly be encouraging them to get the jab."
"The meat industry we know, because it is a damp environment with a lot of people working in close proximity, can (have) high-risk sites," he said. "We want to see those sites vaccinated so those industries can keep working. It's important if we want to have meat (available) but also for those with jobs (in the industry).
"We are doing close to 200 (vaccinations) every day for the next couple of days and have also been to Don KR in Castlemaine and across all sites are hoping to see 2000 people vaccinated."
"The outreach Bendigo Health is providing is important. We have done it across the Loddon Mallee with health workers, been to the state government-run nursing homes and, because this is a priority industry, it is important to see the meat works (industry) vaccinated."
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