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Ohio Begins Vaccinating Some Prison Inmates And Staff

Ohio’s prison authority is vaccinating inmates and staff against the coronavirus at three detention facilities starting this week, but vaccines are limited to inmates under medical care.

According to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, vaccinations will be available to 593 inmates and 456 staff members. The shipments began arriving Monday.

“ODRC is acting in unison with Phase 1A of Ohio's Vaccination Plan,” said ODRC spokesperson Sara French. “Phase 1A includes healthcare workers in the prison system and people living and working in long-term facilities.”

This round is for medical workers and prisoners at Franklin Medical Center, Pickaway Correctional Institution and Allen-Oakwood Correctional Institution.

During a Dec. 23 press conference, Governor Mike DeWine said there’s not a plan for the rest of the state’s prisons.

“If you’re asking the question – When do we get to prisoners? I don’t know the answer yet,” DeWine said. “If you’re asking the question – When do we get to prison personnel who are working there? It’s going to be earlier.”

There have been 110 confirmed COVID-related deaths among inmates at prisons in Ohio, 35 of those were at Pickaway Correctional.

Eight prison staff have also died since the start of the pandemic.

Ohio’s director of prisons, Annette Chambers-Smith said earlier in December that prisoners and staff should be included in the next group in line for a vaccine. According to numbers from ODRC, 632 staff are currently COVID-positive, along with 335 inmates statewide as of Dec. 29.

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