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Nevada prisoners begin receiving COVID-19 vaccine

Updated March 4, 2021 - 6:27 pm

The Nevada Department of Corrections began administering coronavirus vaccines to state prisoners last week, officials announced Thursday.

Prisoners 65 or older are eligible to receive the shots under the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Playbook. As of Thursday afternoon, one-third of eligible offenders who requested the vaccine had been given the first shot, according to a news release from the department.

Among the 471 inmates in the correctional system who qualify for the shot, 44 received the Moderna vaccine Thursday at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center in Carson City, the department said.

The facility has had the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths among prisoners, according to the Department of Health and Human Services’ coronavirus website.

According to state data last updated Thursday, 930 prisoners at the facility have tested positive for the virus and 29 have died. More than half of the 53 state prisoners who have died of COVID-19 have been housed at the Carson City prison.

The department said more vaccination clinics are being scheduled for the rest of March. Inmates were given sign-up sheets but could elect not to get vaccinated even after signing up.

One inmate, at the Ely State Prison, had received both doses, but it was unclear when the first dose was administered. Forty-two other inmates had received the first dose this week, including prisoners at the Casa Grande Transitional Housing Center, Florence McClure Women’s Correctional Center and Southern Desert Correctional Center.

“We are pleased to get this effort under way,” department spokesman William Quenga said in the release. “Keeping our staff and offenders healthy and safe is our top priority.”

Of Nevada’s 10,866 prisoners, 46 percent have signed up to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the department said.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter. Review-Journal reporter Sabrina Schnur contributed to this report.

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