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In December 2012, the New York-based Greek yogurt company began making yogurt at it’s new manufacturing facility in Twin Falls, Idaho.The company announced in 2011 plans to build it’s second U.S. manufacturing plant. Chobani chose Twin Falls. The company has said it plans to hire up to 500 people once the facility starts operating at full capacity.Hamdi Ulukaya founded the Chobani Greek Yogurt company in 2005. According to Chobani’s website, Ulukaya threw himself into the yogurt business after he saw an ad for a recently shuttered Kraft yogurt plant in his local newspaper. He purchased that facility.By 2007, Chobani Greek Yogurt could be found in New York grocery stores. By 2010, it became the number one selling Greek yogurt in the country.

Chobani Holds Vaccine Clinic For Employees On-Site

ChobaniIdahoExterior15.JPG
Courtesy of Chobani
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Food and manufacturing companies in Idaho are helping their employees get vaccinated. And many are choosing to hold clinics at work. 

 

The South Central Public Health District based in Twin Falls says it has received requests from 150 employers, from dairy farms to coffee shops, looking to create vaccine clinics for their workers.

 

In some cases, the workers haven’t been eligible for the vaccine as set by the state’s rollout plan. In other instances, businesses haven’t had enough employees to make it worthwhile. And then there are some vaccine providers that don’t have enough doses to schedule a large clinic. 

 

So far, though, the health district has helped coordinate 25 vaccine clinics for local employers. The health district doesn’t use its own doses for those clinics. Those are saved for people on the district’s waitlist. 

 

Chobani, which operates a yogurt plant and a research and development center in Twin Falls, is partnering with Jerome-based R&R Pharmacy for multiple vaccine clinics for its employees. The first clinic was on Thursday.  

 

 

Trust In Employers Could Combat Vaccine Hesitancy

 

 

The company said investing in its employees' health during the pandemic has allowed it to maintain operations. Food processing workers have accounted for more than 900 of Idaho’s coronavirus cases, according to The Idaho Statesman. The newspaper found Chobani had 68 COVID-19 cases among its employees as of December of last year. 

 

Char Shallenberger works in quality assurance at the plant. She was one of the first to receive her vaccine when it became available Thursday. She’d learned about the opportunity days before and signed up right away.

 

“I’m going to be vaccinated with a bunch of the people that I work with every day and be able to see their faces, and have that camaraderie,” she said a couple hours before her appointment.

 

For workers like Shallenberger, getting the shot at work is about convenience. 

 

“That I can just leave my office and go into the other building and go upstairs, grab a cup of coffee along the way, and get my vaccination, that just saves me a lot of time,” she said.

 

She wasn’t always sure she’d get the vaccine, but began doing research when she heard she would qualify. That convinced her. The first thing she’ll do when she’s immunized, she said, is hug her high-risk dad.

 

Chobani set up a couple conference rooms for the clinic, where employees can wait for fifteen minutes after their vaccines to be monitored for adverse reactions. 

 

Brianna Bodily, the health district’s public information officer, said having that space is an important consideration to setting up a clinic. It’s also helpful to have a large enough area to prevent people from crowding too close together while waiting. 

 

Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen  

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