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Christmas Comes In March For Schiller Park Factory That Secured Vaccines For 105 Employees

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A vaccine success story at a factory in Schiller Park. E.J. Basler Company managed to secure vaccine shots for 105 employees, making the workplace much safer in a risky setting for COVID.

CBS 2 Morning Insider Tim McNicholas asked them how they did it.

The team at E.J. Basler churns out precision machined parts; bolts and bearings, bronze and brass later used in tractors, ventilators, and other machines. But one of the most valuable tools in the factory was not made by the E.J. Basler crew, it was given to them onsite March 1st.

"The same company who did our COVID testing, they offered to come in and give us 100 vaccines. So last Monday was like Christmas in March," said CEO Ed Basler.

That company is Innovative Express Care. They could offer the vaccine to E.J. Basler, because factory workers are in group 1B of the state's vaccination plan, meaning they're now eligible for shots.

More than three-quarters of their employees accepted the shot, and they'll get the second one on March 29th.

"I don't wanna catch the virus. I have children, grandchildren; and I don't wanna expose them to it," said employee Keith Porterfield.

Fellow employee Brenda said she feels good after getting the first shot.

"I feel nothing bad," she said.

It was a welcome opportunity for the company after a challenging year.

Just this past January, they shut part of their operation down for two weeks after an employee contracted the virus.

"We're very aware they have kids and grandkids, and we ought to keep them all safe," Basler said.

You might wonder what life is like in a mostly vaccinated workplace. Basler said, for now, they are still taking precautions, including masks and temperature checks.

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