CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WSAV) – Nearly two weeks after Governor Brian Kemp expanded vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 and older, men and women in the state’s jails and prisons will soon be able to get vaccinated.
The Chatham County Jail and the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) are preparing to start vaccinating all of their inmates. Those who are 65 and older rolled up their sleeves more than a month ago and now those who want the protection from the virus can get the shot as soon as next week.
Pamela Oglesby has a grandson who is an inmate at a GDC facility. Throughout the pandemic, she’s been concerned for his safety.
“If we heard about when the outbreaks happened why are we not hearing now that we have a vaccine? What’s going on?” Oglesby said.
Now that a vaccine is readily available to most Georgians she wants to ensure her grandson gets his shot.
“If this country says to me anybody who wants a vaccination can get a vaccination, then the prison population should be able to do the same,” she said.
News 3 has learned from GDC that as of Tuesday, more than 1,500 inmates in Georgia’s prisons have been vaccinated in phase 1A. Beginning next week, GDC will begin receiving 2,000 doses per week which will be used to vaccinate all inmates.
“My advice to inmates and my advice to the people on the outside is to take the shot. It’s something that will help you,” Chatham County Sheriff John Wilcher said.
The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office is moving forward with vaccinating all of its inmates as well. Sheriff Wilcher says the jail was approved to receive more vaccines on Monday. Their health provider CorrectHealth will administer it to all inmates who want one.
“When this first came out with the shot people were wanting to do it. We just told them we couldn’t do it until we get clearance from the CDC and also clearance from CorrectHealth to be able to administrate it,” Wilcher said.
The jail is still waiting for a special refrigerator to keep the vaccine in. As soon as it comes they’ll open it up for any inmates who want a vaccination. If inmates want to be vaccinated they just have to submit a request on a kiosk to the medical unit.
As far as COVID cases, Sheriff Wilcher said that there is one confirmed case of COVID-19 in the jail. The woman inmate will be in quarantine until April 9.