Marion County Jail has begun vaccinating its incarcerated inhabitants for COVID-19 — making them among the many first inmates in Florida to obtain the shot.
Beginning March 22, the jail began vaccinating inmates older than 60 who meet the state’s vaccine eligibility standards, mentioned María Torres, Chief Healthcare Administrator for Coronary heart of Florida Well being Heart. The well being heart contracts with the Marion County Sheriff’s Workplace to offer medical companies to the county jail’s inmates.
Whereas greater than 75 inmates certified for the vaccine, 43 opted to obtain it, Torres mentioned. They obtained the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot.
“As public well being advocates we wished to cowl inmates quickly because of the quick turnaround within the jail,” Torres wrote in an e-mail. She famous that if their J&J provide dwindles, they plan to safe doses of the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Torres mentioned they started to proceed with the second spherical of vaccinations after Florida’s age standards for the shot dropped to 40 on March 29. A further 510 incarcerated individuals on the jail now qualify for the shot underneath that age group.
Greater than 1,600 individuals have been incarcerated on the jail as of March 31. The power, which has no lively COVID-19 circumstances amongst inmates, has seen a complete of 287 optimistic circumstances since final March and no virus-related deaths, Torres mentioned.
Marion County jail inmates be a part of a small group of incarcerated individuals throughout the state to obtain the vaccine. It stays unclear when any of Florida’s roughly 80,000 state prisoners will obtain the shot, as Gov. Ron DeSantis has but to offer a plan for vaccine distribution to the services.
DeSantis has refused to prioritize the state prison population ahead of different teams in his rollout plan.
“The Florida Division of Corrections is able to vaccinate as quickly as provides grow to be accessible to our company,” Corrections Secretary Mark Inch mentioned in an announcement.
In Miami-Dade, about 161 jail detainees have obtained the vaccine. Seminole County has vaccinated 18 of its inmates. Whereas a timeline remains to be unclear, Palm Seaside County confirmed plans to start administering the shot to its incarcerated inhabitants.
In the meantime, different county jails say they’re caught in limbo ready for the state well being division to offer them doses for his or her inmates. Alachua County, Levy County and Putnam County at present haven’t any plans to vaccinate their incarcerated populations.
“I might be very shocked if it’s a really excessive precedence for the well being division,” mentioned Artwork Forgey, spokesperson for the Alachua County Sheriff’s Workplace.
Like Alachua, Levy County can be relying upon the well being division to inform it when the vaccines are able to distribute, mentioned Levy County Sheriff’s Workplace spokesperson Lt. Scott Tummond.
He mentioned nearly all of inmates on the jail are between their mid-20s and late 30s, that means they’d doubtless fall underneath the new state eligibility guidelines.
“We’d need to have the ability to provide the vaccinations to this inhabitants,” Tummond mentioned. “Till they’ve them accessible to produce, we’re kinda caught.”