Many inmates wary of vaccinations, survey shows

Handcuffs jail bars prison (WJXT)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A survey of 5,110 people incarcerated in prisons and jails in four states -- including Florida -- shows that more than 45%, or 2,318 people, would refuse COVID-19 vaccinations, according to a new “Morbidity and Mortality” report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Another nearly 10% of people participating in the survey, or 498 people, said they would “hesitate to receive” vaccines while slightly more than 45% of the survey participants or, 2,294 people, said they would get the shots.

The survey results underscored the “urgent need for interventions that are culturally relevant and appropriate for various health literacy levels to increase vaccine confidence among incarcerated or detained persons,” the report’s authors concluded. “Incarcerated or detained persons might have inherent higher distrust of governmental systems based on their interactions with law enforcement or the justice system or their experiences with institutional racism, emphasizing the need for trusted messengers to directly appeal to these persons.”

The findings are based on interviews of inmates at three prisons and 10 jails, including the Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department.

The results show that willingness to receive COVID-19 vaccinations was lowest among Black inmates, with 36.7% reporting they would accept shots. Hispanics were the most likely to get vaccinated, with 52.5% agreeing to the shots.