Governor addresses vaccine distribution plan for inmates

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – People living in congregate settings are getting COVID-19 vaccinations but one group that has been excluded from that is inmates.

While inmates are not listed in the vaccine distribution plan, Governor Hutchinson said they are expected to receive their vaccines in phase 1C which will begin in April.

According to Jay Cantrell with the Washington County Jail, there are three active cases among inmates. In Benton County, Lt. Shannon Jenkins said there are zero. However, back in November cases in Washington County the case count got up to 57 and in Benton County up to 260.

Governor Hutchinson announced Tuesday that people 70 and older would get their vaccine beginning January 18th with phase 1B. However, this may not be the case for inmates over 70.

“I believe that they would stay in 1C,” he said. “We will adjust that guidance or necessity if there are sufficient doses out there but that’s where they are at the present time.”

While the governor has said vaccine distribution depends on the county in general, according to the Department of Health there is no plan in place for which correctional facilities will get the shots first.

As for the correctional facility staff, workers involved in patient care and transfer can be vaccinated right now. Other workers will receive their shots in phase 1B which will begin January 18th.

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