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5@5: Grocery retailers ramp up COVID-19 vaccine distribution | Stimulus bill fails to adequately feed the hungry

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Each day at 5 p.m. we collect the five top food and supplement headlines of the day, making it easy for you to catch up on today's most important natural products industry news.

Grocery retailers ramp up COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Retailers Meijer and Wegmans are beginning to mobilize COVID-19 vaccination programs in some stores after receiving state allocations of the vaccine. Texas-based grocer H-E-B is also doling out its supply of the vaccine, but in phases as opposed to by-appoinment-only (healthcare workers and the elderly first, and so on). The National Association of Chain Drug Stores projects that U.S. pharmacies can meet demand for 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations per month. Retailers continue to push for priority with regard to immunizing their frontline workers against the virus. Supermarket News reports.

The stimulus bill is helpful. But it doesn’t go far enough to help the hungry

Hunger, especially within Latinx and Black households, has become a major problem nationwide. And yet the coronavirus relief bill does little in the way of changing this. The SNAP benefit expansion and direct payments are nominal in the long term, and many SNAP users still don't have the option of ordering groceries online. The longevity of these pandemic-driven changes are also under scrutiny; for instance, increased SNAP benefits will sunset in June, while economic instability is expected to persist far beyond then. Head to The Counter for more.

How I found empowerment in the history of Black veganism

While "soul food" in the Black community has come to represent a very animal- and animal product-heavy cuisine, vegan Amirah Mercer writes for Eater that there is a long and storied history of plant-based eating among African Americans (both pre- and post-diaspora) that often goes unnoticed. Eating a plant-based diet is also an effective way for this demographic to "reject reliance on a biased and discriminatory medical industry" in the U.S.

Some workers don’t want a COVID-19 vaccine. Can their bosses make them get it anyway?

A recent survey has found that 27% of Americans are hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine. So what does this mean for workplaces? Can employees who refuse the vaccine be fired? As you might imagine, the answer to that question is overwhelmingly complex. Experts say that while employers have the final say on how far they go to accomodate an unvaccinated employee (like having them work from home), firing unvaccinated workers could prompt lawsuits if they are unable to do so. L.A. Times has the details.

Moderna CEO says the world will have to live with COVID-19 'forever'

The CEO of COVID-19 vaccine-maker Moderna believes that COVID-19 will become an endemic disease, with scientists continuously having to watch for emerging variants of the virus. There are already four endemic coronaviruses across the globe that aren't as deadly or contagious as COVID-19. Read more at CNBC.

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