The head of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections is hopeful they can start vaccinating inmates against COVID-19 in mid- to late February.
DOC Director Scott Crow floated that timeline to the corrections board this week. Prisons and other facilities have signed up to be vaccine providers and will get shipments directly from the state.
Agency spokesman Justin Wolf said they do not know exactly when doses will start arriving, but the logistics are being worked out.
"Each of our facilities is structuring a response plan specific to their facility that goes into the granular level of where the vaccines will be administered, where inmates will be observed post-administration of the vaccine, how they’re going to get each unit within their facility through that process," Wolf said.
Plenty of people within DOC are interested in the vaccine. According to a survey conducted by the agency, 20% of 4,000 staff members and 51% of more than 21,000 inmates are interested in getting vaccinated.
"Now that that’s done and we have sort of a baseline marker of interest to work from, we’re going out and sending out specific medical slips to each inmate with their name and number so that we can identify who would be interested in the vaccine and where they’re located so that we can tailor our response specific to the identified need," Wolf said.
Roughly one in three inmates and one in four DOC staff have been infected by the coronavirus thought the pandemic. According to numbers available early Friday afternoon, 30 inmate deaths from COVID-19 have been confirmed, with another 15 still waiting for a medical examiner’s determination.