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UT Health Pittsburg provides COVID-19 vaccines for Pilgrim's employees

Pittsburg, Texas (April 16, 2021) — UT Health East Texas caregivers vaccinated nearly 200 Pilgrim’s employees against COVID-19 this week during a two-day vaccine clinic at the company’s truck shop on Texas Street.

For Karen Nelson, transportation coordinator for the feed mill, getting the vaccine required little more than a walk across the parking lot.

“It was quick, very easy,” she said, adding that the shot was painless. Nelson said she wanted to receive the vaccine “so that we can relieve some of the pressure and be part of the solution of getting this behind us and move on with life.”

Kenneth Saunders, a shuttle truck driver for the distribution center, also cited the convenience of the vaccine clinic, which was a two-minute drive from his home. He said protecting his family, including his 5-month-old daughter, was his primary motivation for receiving the vaccine.

“COVID is a big concern right now and my wife and I are very interested in protecting our daughter and our older relatives,” Saunders said. “It went really well. It seemed like a couple of forms and stick, and you were good to go, so it wasn’t bad at all.”

Eric Porter, operations manager for the East Plant in Mount Pleasant, said the company distributed information about the vaccines prior to the clinic, so employees were knowledgeable about the vaccine and could make an informed decision.

“I came out to show support for my team, for my managers and my hourly team members, to make sure they feel safe and they’re very educated about the processes we have in place,” Porter said. “I’m just trying to be more proactive in this approach to fight COVID.”

UT Health Pittsburg CEO Guy Cayo said because the hospital’s primary function is to serve the community, he and his team were excited to help out in any way possible.

“To be able to help a business get its employees vaccinated and help them reduce the burden COVID-19 has placed on their operations, is a responsibility that the hospital and our caregivers don’t take for granted,” Cayo said. “I look forward to furthering our relationship with Pilgrim’s to serve their employees and the community in a meaningful way by helping create healthier neighborhoods and higher qualities of life.”

Pilgrim’s Mount Pleasant Complex Manager Rapheal Boyd was grateful for the opportunity to partner with UT Health East Texas and get team members vaccinated.

“The health and safety of our team members has been our top priority for more than one year, as we’ve worked to fight the COVID-19 virus and continue providing food for our country,” Boyd said. “This is a huge step forward as we do our part to protect our workforce, our families and our community.”

Casey Mayben, chief nursing officer for UT Health Pittsburg, said it was a privilege to partner with Pilgrim’s to protect families and the community.

“Part of UT Health Pittsburg’s mission is to care for each other,” Mayben said. “This partnership provides us the opportunity to care for this business and the employees’ families by vaccinating to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our community will be healthier and better protected by this partnership.”


Eric Porter
Eric Porter, operations manager for the Pilgrim’s East Plant in Mount Pleasant, receives a COVID-19 vaccine from UT Health Pittsburg nurse Jessica Kelly, RN, on Tuesday at the Pilgrim’s truck shop on Texas Street. UT Health Pittsburg caregivers vaccinated Pilgrim’s employees during a two-day vaccine clinic at the shop.
UT Health Pittsburg Nurses
UT Health Pittsburg employees Jessica Kelly (from left), RN; Casey Mayben, chief nursing officer; and Taylor Justice, LVN, prepare to give COVID-19 vaccines to Pilgrim’s employees Tuesday at truck shop on Texas Street. UT Health Pittsburg caregivers vaccinated Pilgrim’s employees during a two-day vaccine clinic at the shop.
Taylor Justice
UT Health Pittsburg nurse Taylor Justice, LVN, prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday at the Pilgrim’s truck shop. UT Health Pittsburg caregivers vaccinated Pilgrim’s employees during a two-day vaccine clinic at the shop.


About UT Health East Texas

UT Health East Texas provides care to thousands of patients each year through an extensive regional network that includes 10 hospitals, more than 50 clinics, the Olympic Plaza Tower, 13 regional rehabilitation facilities, two freestanding emergency centers, regional home health services covering 41 counties, an EMS fleet of more than 50 ambulances and four helicopters, and a comprehensive seven-trauma center care network, including the region’s only Level 1 trauma facility.

As a partner with The University of Texas System, UT Health East Texas is uniquely positioned to provide patients with access to leading-edge research and clinical therapies while training and educating the next generation of physicians and other health professionals. The nationally recognized UT System also includes UT MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, as well as three other major university medical centers located throughout the state.