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Report: Arizona To Begin Vaccinating Inmates In State Prisons

According to a report obtained by KJZZ, Arizona is planning to begin administering the first COVID-19 vaccines to inmates in state prisons this week.

High-risk inmates in the prison infirmaries will be first, starting this week. Then the rest of the Phase 1B population who want it will be vaccinated over the next five weeks.

Phase 1B inmates include adults aged 65 and older as well as those with high-risk medical conditions. The Arizona Department of Corrections has identified approximately 6,700 inmates in its 10 state-run prisons who meet that criteria.

The department estimates 50% to 60% of eligible Phase 1B inmates will choose to be vaccinated.

ACLU National Prison Project Deputy Director Corene Kendrick says there is a great deal of hesitancy among inmates to get the vaccine because of misinformation in the prisons.

“We want to make sure that there are robust education materials that are in a form that people can read and understand," Kendrick said. 

The report says the state plans to use the Moderna vaccine, but the inmate vaccination schedule depends on the supply.

The report does not address a vaccination schedule for inmates in private prisons, or the rest of the inmate population in state-run prisons not included in Phase 1B.

→  Get The Latest News On COVID-19 In Arizona 

Jimmy Jenkins was a producer and senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2014 to 2021.