Since March 2020 in Hillsborough County jails, 352 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the sheriff’s office. None have died — and officials are hoping to keep it that way.

What You Need To Know

HCSO has set up a plan to vaccinate inmates at the Falkenburg Road and Orient Road Jails, according to a Wednesday news release.

Vaccinations began on Tuesday.

“The Pfizer vaccine will be given on a voluntary basis to inmates in the same order of distribution originally mandated by the Department of Health. Persons 65 years of age and older and persons under the age of 65 deemed medically vulnerable will have first priority,” the release states.

Inmate receives COVID-19 vaccine at a Hillsborough County Jail (Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office)

In a survey conducted last week of the county’s 2,897 inmates, HCSO says just 640 said they wanted to be vaccinated.

That’s 22%.

But the program extends to those arriving daily, as well.

“As part of the booking process, new arrestees will now be asked if they are interested in receiving a COVID-19 vaccine upon intake. Those who agree to be vaccinated will join a wait list. HCSO is set to receive up to 500 vaccines per week,” the release states.

Those doses are being sent in coordination with the Florida Department of Health.

"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 … I hope our inmates take advantage of this life-saving opportunity."

The Sheriff's Office says the vaccines will be administered to inmates in housing areas by nurses with Naphcare, a company contracted by HCSO.


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