HealthDay News — Some prison systems in the United States have been able to vaccinate high numbers of inmates against COVID-19, and that success could point to ways to convince skeptical people in the general public to get vaccinated.
For example, more than 80 percent of inmates in North Dakota and about 73 percent of inmates in California and Kansas have received at least one vaccine dose, while the overall rates among residents in those states are 42 percent, 56 percent, and 47 percent, respectively, The New York Times reported.
“Education is really key,” said Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and leader of the Covid Prison Project, which monitors coronavirus cases in correctional facilities and gathers data on vaccination rates in those settings. “Especially in a prison context, where there tends to be a lot of distrust of both health care staff and correctional staff, that education piece becomes even more important.”
In Kansas, inmates were prioritized for vaccinations and vaccine information was provided to inmates and their relatives. In Rhode Island, former inmates helped create a vaccination plan for inmates. One California prison held a town hall-style meeting for inmates where medical experts answered questions about COVID-19 vaccine safety, the Times reported.