In an effort to increase the COVID vaccination rate in Moore County, JBS USA will be conducting a company-sponsored, free COVID vaccination clinic during the Dumas Downtown Association's July 23 Sip and Shop event in downtown Dumas. To sweeten the deal, the company is offering everyone who gets a shot the chance to win enough free beef, pork, and chicken to feed a family of four for a year. At least one of the newly-vaccinated participants at the event in Dumas will be eligible to win, according to a company press release. JBS USA is conducting clinics and offering the incentive in a number of rural communities where JBS and Pilgrim's Pride facilities are located and that have vaccination rates lower than the rate among employees. A total of 50 participants will win across the nation in a program the company has called "Your Shot at Free Meat for a Year." Pilgrim's Pride is owned by JBS.
JBS Cactus and other meat processing facilities were identified early in the pandemic as COVID hot spots with high rates of infection among workers. Company, federal, state, and local officials had to scramble to reduce infections and, at the same time, keep facilities deemed essential in operation, processing food for the public and sustaining the economy of rural communities. "Most recently, our focus has been on providing the free opportunity of vaccination to our U.S. team members as a way of helping bring an end to the pandemic. We've made great progress, and our vaccination rates are much higher than the rates in the communities that we call home. The JBS USA and Pilgrim's 'Your Shot at Free Meat for a Year' sweepstakes is our way of encouraging our fellow rural community members to join the fight against COVID-19 through vaccination," said JBS USA CEO Andre Nogueira.
Only 39.63 percent of Moore County residents 12 years of age and older have been fully vaccinated against COVID, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), well below the total of 50.66 percent for the state as a whole and 56.2 percent for the nation, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Like Moore County, many rural areas, especially in the South and Midwest, have seen a decline in the numbers of people willing to be vaccinated against COVID, even as the more contagious Delta variant has become the dominant strain in the United States, and the number of COVID cases has begun to rise again in areas with low vaccination rates. "It is our hope that the 'Your Shot at Free Meat for a Year' sweepstakes will encourage more people to get vaccinated," said Pilgrim's CEO Fabio Sandri.
The vaccination clinic will be located on 7th Street from 5:30 pm until 8:00 pm on Friday, July 23. In addition to the clinic, JBS officials are sponsoring a corn hole tournament with a $1000 first prize and $500 second prize. Entry is free.
Sip and Shop was originally scheduled for July 24, a Saturday. DDA Executive Director Irene Delgado said DDA officials decided to move it to Friday this month as they continue to try to find different ways to entice visitors downtown and stimulate downtown business. While 7th Street is being used for the clinic and corn hole tournament, the usual vendors will be set up along Dumas Avenue in the manner of a sidewalk sale. Shopping kicks off at 6:00 pm and lasts until 8:00 pm. Delgado said she hopes the change will increase traffic in the stores located on Dumas Avenue.
As always, the food trucks will be a part of the Sip and Shop. They will be located in the food truck park just north of the Toppled Turtle Brewing Company at the corner of 7th Street and Dumas Avenue.
A new twist in the Sip and Shop event will come at 8:00 pm when Zac Wilkerson will perform his brand of Texas country music from the Moore County Courthouse lawn until 10:00 pm.
Delgado is looking forward to the expanded event. "It will be a lot of fun," she said. She is also hoping for good weather.