HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — More than 150 inmates received their first doses of the coronavirus vaccination at the Dauphin County Prison Wednesday.
In all, 220 inmates signed up to be vaccinated but several opted out of their appointments.
Hershey Pharmacy provided vaccines for the one-day clinic. PrimeCare, medical provider for the prison, administered 157 doses. Second doses will be administered in May.
“Dauphin County feels it essential that every inmate wishing to be vaccinated for COVID-19 has that opportunity,” Dauphin County Commissioner and Prison Board Chair Mike Pries said. “A big thank you to Hershey Pharmacy for continuing to be a valued community partner.”
Prison officials offered, but do not require vaccination for prison inmates.
So far, there have been zero deaths related to the coronavirus at the prison.
“The county took another step today in improving prison operations and procedures,” County Commissioner George P. Hartwick III said. “Those efforts are ongoing and will continue to strengthen protections of inmates, staff and visitors.”
The news follows months of outcry from community members and loved ones that prisoners are more easily exposed to the coronavirus.
In late February, Camp Hill state prison in Cumberland County was the site of a large outbreak in COVID cases.
“As you know, Camp Hill is our reception facility, so new people coming off the street, we get a lot more COVID,” Wetzel said. “We test everybody.”
Back at the Dauphin County Prison, 527 rapid COVID tests were administered to inmates in the past month.
“This is another example of the medical care offered and provided to inmates at the prison,” Dauphin County Commissioner Chair Jeff Haste said. “The level of care is comprehensive and meticulously recorded by PrimeCare.”