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Florida begins coronavirus vaccinations for state prisoners

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Florida is starting to provide coronavirus vaccines to state prisoners.

The Department of Health and Division of Emergency Management expect to offer enough doses within two weeks for every staff member and inmate who wants a shot.

The pandemic has hit Florida prisons hard. They’ve had nearly 18,000 positive tests among inmates – which would amount to about 22 percent of the current prison population. And 213 inmates have died.

But getting prisoners vaccinated has not been a priority. 

Finally, as vaccinations have opened up for all adults in Florida, the state is starting to immunize its prisoners.

Florida Department of Corrections officials say medical workers have visited each dormitory to educate inmates about the vaccine.

About 33,000 inmates — or 41 percent — have indicated they want it. 

So the Department of Health has allocated 33,000 doses for state-run prisons.

Seven prisons operated by private companies are also receiving vaccines. Three of those have already scheduled vaccinations for inmates and staff.

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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes


Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.