COVID-19 vaccination is on the rise and there is some confidence normal business travel could resume before the end of 2021, according to the results of a new survey of poultry industry professionals.

In the first quarter of 2021, a majority of respondents to the WATT/Rennier Poultry Confidence Index said they anticipate normal travel in the industry could resume in the second half of 2021 or the first half of 2022.

As part of the quarterly survey, WATT Global Media asked additional questions about the state of the poultry industry as well as emerging trends, technologies and challenges. This blog post reflects the results of the supplemental questions included in the first quarter survey conducted in February 2021. The next installment of Dr. Greg Rennier’s column reflecting the results of the survey will be published in the April 2021 issue of WATT PoultryUSA.

Vaccination status

With the introduction of multiple COVID-19 vaccines and wider availability of the vaccines, vaccination rates are steadily increasing. As of March 3, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 52.8 million people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, including about 26.9 million people who have been fully vaccinated.

We asked, “Which of the following best describes your personal vaccination status or plans for COVID-19?”

  • 28.9% responded, “I plan on getting vaccinated through my doctor or another private entity.”
  • 22.4% responded, “My employer will make vaccines available to me as soon as they can.”
  • 17.1% responded, “I do not have any plans currently for receiving the vaccine, but will do so as soon as a vaccine is available for me.”
  • 11.8% responded, “I will wait to be vaccinated even if a vaccine is available in the near future, either so others of greater need can be vaccinated or I'm going to wait-and-see approach to judge how well the vaccine performs.”
  • 9.2% responded, “I will most likely choose not to be vaccinated.”
  • 7.9% responded, “I have already been vaccinated once.”
  • 2.6% responded, “I have received all my vaccinations.”

Travel plans

With the winter of 2020-2021 ending and hope growing that the end of the COVID-19 pandemic may be in sight, Americans are turning their eyes toward the future and the possibility of returning to normal activities. A number of municipalities and states are relaxing COVID-19 related restrictions in increasing vaccination.

No one knows what will be necessary to achieve a herd immunity to the virus, but some health experts say 70% to 90% of the population will need to be vaccinated to achieve that milestone. It is possible – given the current rate of vaccinations – that 70% of the U.S. population could be vaccinated by the end of August 2021 and 90% could be vaccinated by the end of October 2021.

We asked, “When do you expect the poultry industry will allow for ‘normal’ travel between facilities and with allied suppliers?”

  • 38.9% responded, “Second half of 2021.”
  • 26.4% responded, “First half of 2022.”
  • 19.4% responded, “By the end of 2021.”
  • 6.9% responded, “First half of 2021.”
  • 4.2% responded, “Second half of 2022.”
  • 4.2% responded, “2023 or beyond.”

View our continuing coverage of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.