The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office begins vaccinating inmates today as part of an ongoing effort to avoid the community spread of COVID-19 virus in Wayne County jails, according to a press release. All inmates were offered an opportunity to be vaccinated and those who agreed are receiving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine (which requires only one dose).
Today, health workers vaccinate inmates at Division 3 with a plan to vaccinate inmates at Jails 1 and 2 in the next few weeks. Sheriff’s office executives immediately initiated safety protocols at the start of the pandemic in March 2020. In addition to daily temperature screenings, stringent sanitization practices and continuous distribution of PPE supplies, bi-weekly COVID-19 testing is mandatory for all Sheriff’s Office personnel.
In January, jail officials began arranging on-site vaccinations of personnel and in February, installed 22 purifying units in the jails that attack Covid-19 in the air. Vaccination is strictly voluntary and doses are distributed at no cost. After this initial phase of polling inmates to determine their interest in receiving the vaccine, jail officials will incorporate the request at intake for each incoming inmate.
“This is the next phase in our health safety protocols to ensure that everyone who spends time in our facilities—whether personnel, contractual workers or the inmate population—are protected from any potential spread of the disease,” said Sheriff Raphael Washington.
The County Health Department (CHD) begins dispensing the J&J vaccine to Division 3 inmates who signed up at 10 a.m. Security clearances were conducted for the health workers in advance and everyone on site is required to adhere to masking and other safety protocols. The WC jails have been referred to by the CDC as a model for containing any potential spread among inmates.
Jail officials have also worked closely with the Chief Judge of Third Judicial Circuit Court and the Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy to release eligible inmates in an attempt to reduce the inmate population.
These combined efforts have resulted in less than 1.1% of the jail population testing positive for COVID-19.