Inmates, Guards Alike Wary Of COVID-19 Vaccinations

Inmates reluctance shows the need for increased vaccine education in jails: CDC

Florida Politics – A survey of 5,110 people incarcerated in prisons and jails in four states — including Florida — shows that more than 45% would refuse COVID-19 vaccinations, according to a new report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Another nearly 10% said they would “hesitate to receive” vaccines.

The report’s authors concluded the survey results underscored the:

“urgent need for interventions that are culturally relevant and appropriate for various health literacy levels to increase vaccine confidence among incarcerated or detained persons.” 

“Incarcerated or detained persons might have inherent higher distrust of governmental systems based on their interactions with law enforcement or the justice system … ” 

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US prison guards refusing vaccine despite COVID-19 outbreaks

by NICOLE LEWIS of The Marshall Project and MICHAEL R. SISAK of The Associated Press – Monday, March 15th 2021

A Florida correctional officer polled his colleagues earlier this year in a private Facebook group: “Will you take the COVID-19 vaccine if offered?”

The answer from more than half: “Hell no.” Only 40 of the 475 respondents said yes.

In Massachusetts, more than half the people employed by the Department of Correction declined to be immunized. A statewide survey in California showed that half of all correction employees will wait to be vaccinated.

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In Rhode Island, prison staff have refused the vaccine at higher rates than the incarcerated, according to medical director Dr. Justin Berk. And in Iowa, early polling among employees showed a little more than half the staff said they’d get vaccinated.

As states have begun COVID-19 inoculations at prisons across the country, corrections employees are refusing vaccines at alarming rates, causing some public health experts to worry about the prospect of controlling the pandemic both inside and outside.

Infection rates in prisons are more than three times as high as in the general public.

Prison staff helped accelerate outbreaks by refusing to wear masks, downplaying people’s symptoms, and haphazardly enforcing social distancing and hygiene protocols in confined, poorly ventilated spaces ripe for viral spread.

The Marshall Project and The Associated Press spoke with correctional officers and union leaders nationwide, as well as with public health experts and doctors working inside prisons, to understand why officers are declining to be vaccinated, despite being at higher risk of contracting COVID-19.

Many employees spoke on the condition of anonymity because they feared they would lose their jobs if they spoke out … Read more. 

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