RICHMOND, Va. -- The Virginia Department of Corrections (DOC) announced more than 50 percent of those people inside Virginia's prisons have received a COVID-19 vaccine.
"More than 13,000 inmates and more than 6,000 staff have received the first of two Moderna COVID-19 shots," a DOC spokesperson wrote in an email. "All inmates who receive the first shot are scheduled to receive the second shot four weeks later."
The vaccine is voluntary for those in prison.
“Vaccinating DOC staff and inmates makes the whole community safer,” Virginia Department of Corrections Director Harold Clarke said in a statement. “Not only are our staff going into the community each day, but sometimes people forget that if an inmate gets very sick with COVID and has to be hospitalized, that inmate is occupying a community hospital bed. Inmates are a part of their local communities.”
Virginia's prison population was 23,811 in January.