Mass. corrections staff will receive COVID-19 vaccines next week
The vaccinations are part of the plan to protect those in congregate care settings during the first distribution phase
By Kim Ring
Telegram & Gazette
WORCESTER, Mass. — Inmates and correctional facilities' staff across the state will begin receiving COVID-19 vaccines on Monday, the Massachusetts Sheriff’s Association announced this week.
The vaccinations are part of the plan to protect those in congregate care settings during the first phase of distribution.
“We have been working diligently in collaboration with the Baker administration, the Department of Public Health, the Vaccine Advisory Group and our resident infectious disease specialist, Dr. Alysse Wurcel, to insure that we are fully prepared for this crucial next step,” said newly-elected President of the Massachusetts Sheriff’s Association and Suffolk County Sheriff, Steven W. Tompkins.
Wurcel said those in jails and prisons are at high risk for contracting COVID-19.
“Our mandate is for the safe custody and care of those remanded to us by the courts, but we also have a critical responsibility for the health and safety of the men and women who deliver on that mandate. These vaccinations protect both our incarcerated populations and the people who oversee their safety, which ultimately protects the health and safety of the general public,” Tompkins said.
Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi, the new vice president of the MSA, said he is hopeful that the rollout of the vaccine to congregate care settings in Massachusetts will mark a true turning point in the pandemic.
“The vaccine is the subject of some skepticism, but I am encouraged by the science. And I’m hopeful that our staff and the people whose health and safety we are responsible for will continue to be accepting of it through education and seeing others around them be inoculated,” Cocchi said.
Over the past several weeks, working closely with the Department of Public Health and in consultation with Dr. Wurcel, staff have prepared for the vaccination rollout.
To date, nearly 1,000 health care professionals and COVID-facing staff have been vaccinated within the 14 Sheriffs’ Offices in accordance with Phase One (A) as outlined by the state Department of Public Health.
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