RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) — As of Thursday, the Virginia Department of Corrections (DOC) has administered a COVID-19 vaccine to more than half of its inmates and staff members.
“Medical staff at the Virginia DOC worked intently with Virginia Department of Health (VDH) officials, following CDC guidelines, as vaccines approached and received emergency approval,” the Virginia DOC said in a statement on Thursday, Feb. 18. “The DOC then started a massive education campaign to help inmates make informed decisions about the vaccine. Taking the vaccine is voluntary.”
The department says more than 13,000 inmates — all of whom are scheduled to receive their second dose — and more than 6,000 staff members have received the first of two Moderna COVID-19 shots as of Thursday.
In addition, approximately 3,000 individuals have already received their second dose, according to officials.
“Vaccinating DOC staff and inmates makes the whole community safer,” said Virginia Department of Corrections Director Harold Clarke. “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.”
Deloitte, a global consulting firm, is reportedly helping the Virginia DOC to develop the vaccine deployment strategy in collaboration with the VDH.
Meanwhile, the department says it is holding a weekly consult with members of the University of Virginia’s infectious disease team to discuss vaccine rollout efforts.