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Consumer Companies Seek Vaccine Access as Absenteeism Rises

A lobbying group that represents consumer-goods companies from Procter & Gamble Co. to General Mills Inc. says the industry’s employees need priority access to a vaccine as rising Covid-related absenteeism strains manufacturing capabilities.

The Consumer Brands Association has already sent about 40 letters to state and federal health officials such as the Centers for Disease Control requesting a comprehensive plan for distributing the vaccine to company workforces.

With 1.2 million employees across an industry that has boosted production of essential goods like disinfecting wipes and packaged food, the association has “serious concern” over the distribution process, said Bryan Zumwalt, its executive vice president of public affairs.

“We’re in a situation where unfortunately we may have to play whack-a-mole at the state level in trying to deal with each of the challenges,” Zumwalt said. “This is crunch time.”

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