Nestle seeks ways to help with Covid-19 vaccine roll out

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Nestle is looking at ways to help pay for Covid-19 vaccines and projects to inoculate populations where the world’s largest food company operates, Chief Executive Mark Schneider said on Tuesday.

The Swiss group said it has already donated extensively to the Red Cross and other organisations to help cover the financial cost of vaccination programmes, Schneider said, but would now look at going further.

“We will also try to find ways to either sponsor the payment for the vaccine or sponsor the way it gets applied in communities where we are present,” Schneider told the Forum Horizon event in Lausanne.

“The price of a vaccine for an advanced economy is negligible…but to a developing country which has been struggling already with all the impacts of Covid, on top of that to pay for the vaccine and for the services to get it applied is going to be very significant,” he added.

The specific details of how Nestle would help still needed to be worked out, Schneider said, describing the project as a “work in progress”.

“The most important ingredient is not there, and that’s the vaccine itself,” he said.

The maker of KitKat chocolate bars and Nescafe instant coffee is also looking at stepping up protections for its own staff, after introducing rigid testing at its sites and making mask wearing mandatory.

The Swiss company would look at immunising its own workers against the new coronavirus as soon as possible. Nestle employs around 290,000 people around the world.

“As soon as it is possible, and in full compliance with all federal and cantonal laws, if there is a way to make a service like this available to our people on site, we would be the first ones to try and do it,” Schneider said.