Jails and correctional facilities part of Phase 1 COVID-19 vaccine plan in Massachusetts

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GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – COVID-19 vaccines continue to be distributed to high risk populations, which also include incarcerated individuals.

State health officials came to the conclusion of including prisons and jails because incarcerated individuals live in close quarters but there are many people that still disagree with the state’s thinking.

Massachusetts’ Phase 1 vaccine plan began with front line health care workers and long term care facilities. Now, first responders and jails are getting COVID-19 vaccines.

22News spoke with Franklin County Sheriff Christopher Donelan who received the Moderna vaccine last week. He explained the state’s thought process of getting the vaccine to jails and correctional facilities.

“You have many men in a small space. If the COVID-19 outbreak happened here it would spread very quickly to very many people. And because we are a congregate living environment, that’s what placed us up there,” said Sheriff Donelan.

Sheriff Donelan also told 22News they received Moderna vaccines last Monday and they went to their health care workers and officers who could be in direct contact with infected inmates. They ran out of their supply and have requested additional shipments. He’s hoping they’ll be able get the rest of the staff and inmates vaccinated by February.

There have been no COVID-19 outbreaks at the Franklin County Jail. There have also been serious talks about making it a future location for the public to get the vaccine, in order to speed up vaccine distribution.

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