Inmates in some districts to start getting vaccine Monday

People living in correctional facilities will be among those eligible to start receiving the coronavirus vaccine in 11 health districts starting Monday. Governor Ralph Northam recently issued a directive to increase flexibility about who is eligible to receive vaccines and to speed up the commonwealth’s vaccination process.

 

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While many districts are still focused on vaccinating the health care providers and long-term care residents in group 1a, other areas are now expanding to include frontline essential workers, people 75 years old and older and those living in correctional facilities, homeless shelters and migrant labor camps.

“This is an important step that will provide increased flexibility to health districts across the commonwealth,” said Dr. Danny Avula, MD, MPH newly appointed COVID vaccine coordinator. “The governor has made it very clear that the state should not be holding anyone back — if health districts are ready and able to begin phase 1b vaccinations, they must be able to do so.”

The following districts will launch phase 1b Monday: Alexandria, Arlington, Cumberland Plateau, Fairfax, Lenowisco, Lord Fairfax, Loudoun, Mount Rogers, New River, Prince William and Roanoke County/Allegheny.

The phase 1b process will take several weeks to months to complete, according the Virginia Department of Health. The federal government is allocating about 110,000 doses of the vaccine to Virginia a week.

Nationwide, at least 329,000 people in U.S. prisons have tested positive for the illness as of Jan. 5 — an increase of 5 percent from the week before, according to The Marshall Project. So far, Virginia correctional facilities have reported 7,495 positive cases, a rate of 2,570 per 10,000 prisoners.