COVID-19 vaccinations underway at Oregon prisons
Oregon's Department of Corrections (DOC) received 5,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine on Feb. 8 and expects another 5,000 doses this week, all targeted for inmates.
The vaccination effort began Feb. 10 at Deer Ridge Correctional Institution (DRCI), giving priority to inmates who are "COVID-19 vulnerable."
The vaccination program comes after the Feb. 2 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Stacie Beckwith that all adults in custody at Oregon prisons be offered the coronavirus vaccine.
DRCI offers, but does not require, the vaccines.
"The facility doesn't know how many AICs (adults in custody) will accept the offer, but safe estimates would be approximately 75%," says DRCI spokesperson Sharon Ball.
As with community members, all AICs who have been vaccinated receive a card showing the type of vaccine received and the date received.
The congregate living in facilities like prisons create a challenging environment to manage a pandemic. Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, 42 adults in custody died after being infected with COVID.
Deer Ridge saw a total of 279 cases among inmates, and 43 known cases among staff. Four Deer Ridge inmates died after testing positive for COVID-19.
DRCI houses less than 700 adults.
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