RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) — The Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) is offering incentive packages to inmates as a way to encourage them to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
VADOC released a statement on Thursday, Jan. 21, saying that inmates who agree to be vaccinated will receive free email stamps and telephone credits, as well as a care package filled with snacks and other commissary items.
“We want all staff and inmates who want the COVID-19 vaccine to get their inoculations as soon as possible,” said VADOC Director Harold Clarke. “This effort is important to all in the VADOC community – our staff, inmates, and the community outside the walls, where our staff and inmates’ families live. We hope this campaign leads to better health in VADOC facilities and in the Commonwealth itself.”
The department says Phase 1a vaccinations for medical staff began about two weeks ago, but Phase 1b vaccinations started last week as a systemwide effort to administer the vaccine to as many staff members and inmates as possible.
According to officials, VADOC medical staff are administering the Moderna vaccine received from the Virginia Department of Health.
As of Friday, Jan. 15, the department says 1,177 staff and 648 inmates have been vaccinated, but that number will be updated every Friday on the VADOC website. In addition, the number of inmates and CCAP probationers in VADOC facilities has reportedly dropped to approximately 25,000 over the course of the pandemic.
VADOC is set to start distributing incentive packs in early March to any inmates who choose to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, which will be administered in two doses approximately 28 days apart.
Officials clarified in Thursday’s statement that VADOC operates state correctional facilities and state probation/parole, but it it does not operate or oversee local correctional facilities.