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The Latest: Alabama to begin vaccinating prison inmates | Business News

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama prison system, which ranks sixth in the country for COVID-19 deaths, announced Thursday that it will begin vaccinating inmates after previously only making vaccine available to prison officers and staff.

The Alabama Department of Corrections announced that on April 12 it will begin vaccinating inmates who want to receive the vaccine. The prison system estimated that it will initially have 6,000 – 7,000 doses available to begin inoculating inmates. There are more than 17,000 inmates in state prisons.

“As with our staff vaccination plan – we will begin with those facilities that house our most vulnerable inmates. Our intent is to inoculate entire facilities at one time – not focus on particular age groups or demographics,” the prison system wrote in an emailed response.

Alabama ranks sixth in the country for inmate deaths from COVID-19 per 10,000 prisoners, according to data gathered by the Marshall Project and The Associated Press. In Alabama prisons, 63 inmates and 3 staff members have died after contracting COVID-19. Inmates and families have described the difficulty of avoiding the disease because of crowded dorms where inmates cannot socially distance.

VACCINES: More than 99.6 million people, or 30% of the U.S. population, have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some 56 million people, or 16.9% of the population, have completed their vaccination.

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