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State prisons giving booster shots to inmates

Posted on January 15, 2022

Updated on January 17, 2022

Local news

Stock photo | Pixabay

RALEIGH — The N.C. Division of Prisons says it’s ensuring that all offenders who are eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster shot — and who have consented to be vaccinated — are inoculated as soon as possible.

Prison medical officials, who consistently monitor the eligibility and administration of vaccinations to offenders, indicate that close to 80% of current offenders have been vaccinated.

Beginning last week, prisons have provided nearly 9,000 booster shots to offenders, including inmates at Nash Correctional Institution near Momeyer.

Through their continuing booster campaign with additional vaccines received, the state prison system has now provided boosters to almost 12,000 offenders and is working to ensure these additional boosters are recorded in the CVMS database.

An additional 4,200 offenders who are eligible continue to express an interest in receiving the shot.

Amid reports that some offenders who want a booster have yet to receive their shot, state prison leaders pledged to ensure this occurs as quickly as possible.

“We remain committed to doing everything in our power to get shots in the arms of all eligible, consenting offenders without delay,” Commissioner of Prisons Todd Ishee said in a news release. “This is an ongoing effort to do all that we can to keep people healthy and safe.”

Given the abundance of COVID-19 vaccines, there is no reason any person in confinement who is eligible and wants a vaccination or booster should not be able to get one, said Department of Public Safety Secretary Eddie Buffaloe.

“Our vaccination efforts in Prisons are ongoing, and I have directed the Division of Adult Correction to conduct a thorough review to ensure every facility has the resources necessary to complete vaccinations as quickly as possible,” Buffaloe said.

Under current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that call for a five-month interval between the second shot of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, more than 65% of eligible offenders who have consented to receive the booster have already received them.

Additional doses are scheduled to arrive today, and administrations will continue, allowing the prison system to be well ahead of its original goal of completing booster administrations to all eligible consenting offenders prior to the end of January.

All offenders and staff members are offered education on COVID-19, vaccine options and the incentive opportunities available to those who choose to receive the vaccine.

Prisons staffers continue to work closely with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and the N.C. National Guard in this vaccination effort and will request additional resources from these partners as needed.

The North Carolina state prison system has taken more than four dozen actions to prevent COVID-19 from getting into the prisons, to help prevent it from spreading to other prisons and to confine it within a prison if it happens.

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