FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – In order to prevent and reduce the number of inmates who contract COVID-19 in Broward County jails, the Broward Sheriff’s Office Department of Detention is vaccinating hundreds of inmates this week. The effort is being undertaken in coordination with the Florida Department of Health (DOH) and Florida Division of Emergency Management’s Region 7 Incident Management Team.
The mass vaccination initiative, which began on Monday, May 17 at BSO’s Joseph V. Conte Facility in Pompano Beach, provides free Johnson & Johnson vaccinations to inmates who legally consent to receiving the vaccine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be safe and effective at preventing COVID-19.
All Broward County inmates who have not already been vaccinated are eligible to participate.
A team of 12 DOH licensed medical nurses prepare and administer the vaccine, while Wellpath medical personnel assist with any potential side effects inmates may experience. Wellpath is the healthcare provider for the jails. Information regarding the vaccination is documented into the state’s Florida Shots database by three onsite support staff members. Wellpath medical personnel also enter the information into the inmate’s jail electronic medical record.
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Prior to the initiative, BSO’s DOD vaccinated approximately 621 inmates with assistance from the Florida Department of Health in Broward County and Wellpath medical staff. As of today, more than 1,005 inmates have been vaccinated.
Inmates incarcerated in Broward County facilities are encouraged to receive vaccinations through flyers and daily announcements in English, Spanish and Creole. DOD staff members also meet with incarcerated individuals to discuss the vaccination.
As an incentive, inmates who opt to receive the COVID-19 vaccination are provided a kosher commissary care pack valued at $25. The package is being sponsored by the Inmate Welfare Fund and includes a variety of snacks at no cost to the inmate.
The mass vaccination initiative, which is a part of DOD’s commitment to the safety and wellbeing of its inmates, staff and vendors, is scheduled to take place through Thursday, May 20 at Broward County jail facilities.