Some States Have More Vaccinated People Inside Prison than Outside

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Prisons in states like California, Rhode Island, North Dakota and Kansas have outperformed vaccination rates among the general public and experts say their success may offer clues about how to persuade skeptical people outside correctional facilities to get vaccinated, reports the New York Times. At one California prison, inmates held a town-hall-style meeting in which medical experts answered questions about the safety of the vaccines. In Rhode Island, formerly incarcerated people were involved in helping develop a vaccination plan for inmates.

In Kansas, inmates were given priority for vaccinations, and prisons provided vaccine information to inmates’ relatives and to the inmates themselves. About 73 percent of inmates in California and Kansas prisons have received at least one COVID vaccine dose, according to the project. In North Dakota, another state that has had prison town-hall meetings, the rate is above 80 percent. In contrast, North Dakota’s overall vaccination rate is 42 percent. California has administered at least one shot to 56 percent of residents, and Kansas 47 percent. Incarcerated people are at a much greater risk from infection than the general public, but many say that they are wary of both the vaccines and of the prison medical staff members who administer them.

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