Sanford Health vaccinates 1,700 JBS employees in Worthington

"We're glad we got the chance to get this vaccine. Everybody needs the vaccine."

Sanford Health vaccinates 1,700 JBS employees in Worthington

Mulu Hwase didn’t have to go far to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Just a quick walk upstairs, and a one-and-done, Janssen (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine was waiting for her.

“I feel lucky. I didn’t have to go anywhere, I got it at my workplace, and during my work time,” she said with a smile.

She was one of 1,700 JBS employees vaccinated by Sanford Health in Worthington, Minnesota.

“We’re glad we got the chance to get this vaccine. Everybody needs the vaccine,” added Hwase.

Caring for communities

Brad Hellinga is the JBS general manager. He said he’s thankful for the commitment Sanford Health has to keeping communities healthy.

“Trying to get 1,700 people through here to get the vaccines in a short time is quite an undertaking. Sanford stepped up to help our team members, putting a significant number of people and resources toward this effort.

“We really appreciate the support,” said Hellinga.

More: Sanford Worthington gets national quality leadership award

JBS human resources director Cathy Heredia said the plant and Sanford Health have had a standing partnership. She said it’s something they take comfort in.

“It’s always great to partner with Sanford Health during health fairs, during flu shot season, and especially now. Getting the community vaccinated is a big undertaking, and as the largest employer in the area, this is a big stepping stone,” said Heredia.

Planning for nearly 2,000 shots

Sanford Health executive director in Worthington Jennifer Weg said offering vaccinations to JBS employees was a priority since the news broke about the FDA’s approval of coronavirus vaccines.

But, there were a lot of details to hammer out.

“We wanted to make sure the JBS employees were taken care of in the most convenient place, which is at their work.

“For about the last three weeks, we got pretty serious about getting vaccines (here). How would we do it? What day of the week? How many people would it involved? Pretty much three weeks of planning in order to have today’s event,” she said.

Related: Sanford employees step up as medical interpreters

When the mass vaccination event took place, Weg said the energy and sense of relief was palpable.

“It’s pure joy. Even as people are starting the line, there’s such enthusiasm. You hear a lot of clapping and hooting and hollering to say, ‘glad to have this’ and so joy is really the emotion today,” Weg said while smiling.

She added that the event couldn’t have been done without the hard work of everyone at Sanford Health and JBS.

Worthington clinic director Reed Fricke says events of this magnitude show how nimble Sanford Health is, and how much the health care provider cares about each and every community.

“I’m proud that we’re able to serve the community, and serve the JBS community. That’s what I’m most proud of. The event itself (is great), but really it’s about getting the vaccine out.”

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Posted In Community, COVID-19, Immunizations