HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla- — The Hillsborough sheriff says inmates at the Falkenburg Road and Orient Road jails are starting to get vaccinated.
According to the press release, the Pfizer vaccine is being given to inmates with the first priority being those 65 and older. The first distribution took place Tuesday, April 6.
"Persons 65 years of age and older and persons under the age of 65 deemed medically vulnerable will have first priority."
Officials say 640 out of 2,897 inmates volunteered to be vaccinated.
As part of the booking process, new arrestees are being asked if they want a COVID-19 vaccine upon intake. Those who agree to be vaccinated are put on the waitlist.
The sheriff's office says they plan to receive up to 500 vaccines per week and will have nurses administer the vaccines within the inmate housing areas through Naphcare.
Since March of 2020, 352 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19. However, no inmate deaths have been attributed to the virus, according to the sheriff.
"The sooner we can get the vast majority of people vaccinated, the better for both those within our jails and those within our communities," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "By providing a means for inmates to get vaccinated, we are not only protecting those individuals but also protecting the hardworking deputies and staff members working within our jails every day. In addition, when those inmates are released from jail, being vaccinated will prevent them from contracting and spreading this deadly virus to anyone in the public with whom they come in contact. I hope our inmates take advantage of this life-saving opportunity."