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Virginia Department of Corrections offers incentives to inmates who get COVID-19 vaccine

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Posted at 10:29 AM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 10:29:49-05

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Department of Corrections encourages inmates to get COVID-19 vaccines, incentivizing them with free email stamps and telephone credits, as well as care packages filled with commissary items, including snacks.

According to a news release, Virginia Department of Corrections Director Harold Clarke wants all staff and inmates who want the COVID-19 vaccine to get their inoculations as soon as possible.

“This effort is important to all in the VADOC community – our staff, inmates, and the community outside the walls, where our staff and inmates’ families live. We hope this campaign leads to better health in VADOC facilities and in the Commonwealth itself,” Clarke said.

The Department implemented Phase 1a two weeks ago, vaccinating medical staff. Last week, VADOC started Phase 1b vaccinations, vaccinating as many staff and inmates as possible.

VADOC medical staff are administering the Moderna vaccine received from the Virginia Department of Health.

Through January 15, 1,177 staff and 648 inmates had received vaccinations. Vaccination numbers for staff and inmates will be updated on the VADOC website every Friday.

Inmates who choose to take the COVID-19 vaccine, will take two doses approximately 28 days apart.

VADOC will begin distributing incentive packs in early March.

The number of inmates and CCAP probationers in VADOC facilities has decreased to about 25,000 during the pandemic. The VADOC operates state correctional facilities and state probation/parole but doesn’t operate or oversee local correctional facilities (jails). Jails in Virginia are run locally and overseen by the Board of Local & Regional Jails.