U.S. oil companies launch on-site vaccinations as supplies rise
U.S. energy companies are organizing employee vaccinations as more COVID-19 doses become available, officials and employees told Reuters, setting up on-site clinics or offering time off to workers to get the shot.
The drive comes as the United States ramps up shipments, with 164.3 million doses sent since rollouts began, and as more companies are encouraging staff to return to offices.
More than a quarter of the U.S. population has received at least one dose, and 45.5 million, of 331 million residents, were fully inoculated as of Tuesday, according to government data.
Energy companies are able to get doses with employees classified as essential workers. Shots are not required but are being made available to staff. Phillips 66 and Exxon Mobil Corp have already begun inoculations, representatives said, and other large energy firms aim to begin shots soon.
Chevron Corp, which received approval to set up clinics, expects supplies in coming weeks from health officials in California and Texas.
“We want our teams together, collaborating, building relationships,” Chevron finance chief Pierre Breber said this month. Decisions on returning employees to offices, however, remain to be made, he said.
Exxon has provided on-site vaccinations at U.S. plants, including its second-largest U.S. refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The facilities “are classified as essential services and any vaccine distribution will be prioritized to those that have critical roles in maintaining energy delivery and business continuity,” said spokesman Jeremy Eikenberry.
Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s U.S. pipeline and refinery facilities, including at Deer Park, Texas, have offered the shots, said people familiar with the matter.
Shell did not reply to a request for comment.
Valero Energy Corp has offered plant workers one hour of paid time off per dose, people familiar with the company’s policy said.
Valero did not respond to a request for comment.
Source: Reutres (Reporting by Shariq Khan in Bengaluru and Erwin Seba and Jennifer Hiller in Houston; Editing by Peter Cooney)