ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - A new Associated Press report says the nation’s prison workers are refusing the COVID-19 vaccine.
The AP says infection rates in prisons are more than three times higher than the general public.
Dougherty County Chief Jailer John Ostrander said a good number of his staff members have gotten vaccinated, but others don’t want to.
Some workers have concerns about the vaccine’s safety.
“I’ve talked to some about it. Some have expressed concerns about immediate side effects. They didn’t want to get sick, they didn’t want to take sick leave. Some have expressed concerns about potential long-term effects we don’t know about. I guess, there’s a lot of mis- or disinformation on social media,” Ostrander said.
Some of those concerns included potential infertility. There’s no scientific evidence that suggests this.
“Please discuss that with their physician and see if they can get some peace of mind because it’s very, very important that everyone get vaccinated if we’re going to get through it,” Ostrander said. “People that obtain their primary source of information as social media, where there’s such a huge opportunity for misinformation and disinformation, it’s really not the best platform to obtain your information from. It’s doing yourself a disservice.”
The CDC says the vaccine is effective at protecting you from getting sick. It’s still unclear if it will stop you from spreading the virus. If so, that would make a big difference in correctional facilities, Ostrander said.
“Right after the Thanksgiving holiday, there was a surge. We had two or three employees that tested positive from COVID. Areas that they worked in, suddenly inmates began testing positive for COVID. So, we’re very confident that was the vector of transmission bringing it into this facility,” Ostrander said.
Inmates aren’t yet eligible to receive the vaccine to keep themselves from getting sick.
When they are, Ostander said they’re hoping to distribute the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.