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Virginia Department of Corrections: More than half of inmates, staff have received COVID-19 vaccines

Virginia Department of CorrectionsThe Virginia Department of Corrections reports Thursday that it has administered COVID-19 vaccines to more than 50 percent of its inmates and staff.

Medical staff at the Virginia DOC worked intently with Virginia Department of Health officials, following CDC guidelines, as vaccines approached and received emergency approval. The DOC then started a massive education campaign to help inmates make informed decisions about the vaccine.

Taking the vaccine is voluntary.

More than 13,000 inmates and more than 6,000 staff have received the first of two Moderna COVID-19 shots. All inmates who receive the first shot are scheduled to receive the second shot four weeks later.

Second doses are being administered now as well; approximately 3,000 individuals have received their second dose of the vaccine.

The average daily inmate population in January was 23,811.

“Vaccinating DOC staff and inmates makes the whole community safer,” Virginia Department of Corrections Director Harold Clarke said. “Not only are our staff going into the community each day, but sometimes people forget that if an inmate gets very sick with COVID and has to be hospitalized, that inmate is occupying a community hospital bed. Inmates are a part of their local communities.”

Global consulting firm Deloitte is assisting the DOC regarding the strategy for vaccine deployment in collaboration with VDH.

The DOC also has a weekly consult with members of the University of Virginia’s infectious disease team regarding vaccine rollout.

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