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Nearly half of Nevada prisoners have had dose of COVID vaccine

Updated May 6, 2021 - 5:34 pm

Nearly half of Nevada’s prisoners have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Department of Corrections.

The state prison system began administering the vaccine to prisoners who requested the shots in late April, the department has said. According to an emailed statement from the department, “almost half” of state prisoners had received at least one dose as of Tuesday.

This year, 5,063 prisoners requested to be vaccinated, but as of Tuesday, 5,187 prisoners have received at least one dose, the statement said. There are 10,699 prisoners in state custody as of Thursday, meaning about 48.5 percent have received at least one shot.

In April, the Review-Journal reported that 55 prisoners had died after testing positive for COVID-19, while data from the Department of Health and Human Services showed 53 prisoner deaths. A spokeswoman in April said the agency was reviewing the prison system’s other two reported cases, but the number of deaths shown on the state website had not been updated as of Thursday.

As of Thursday, 932 prisoners have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the state health department’s coronavirus website.

More than 10 vaccine clinics are being scheduled at prison facilities over the next two weeks, the department said, including a clinic at High Desert State Prison on Monday.

The prison, about 40 miles northwest of Las Vegas, has the lowest vaccination rate: 24 percent of prisoners have received at least one dose as of Tuesday, the department said.

The only two prisons to have vaccinated all prisoners are transitional housing facilities in Las Vegas and Reno, according to data from the department.

Northern Nevada Correctional Center, which has seen the most prisoners who died after testing positive for COVID-19, has vaccinated 45 percent of inmates with at least one dose.

The department began allowing limited visitations again on May 1, more than a year after they were canceled because of the pandemic.

Officials will re-evaluate visitation protocols next month, the department said.

Facilities with a vaccination rate of 75 percent or more will have some restrictions lifted to allow more frequent visits, more visitors and visits from children under 5. When facilities have vaccinated at least 80 percent of prisoners, visitations will resume at “pre-pandemic levels” but with required appointments.

Of the facilities that have not vaccinated all prisoners, only Humboldt Conservation Camp has surpassed the initial 75 percent goal, with 79 percent of prisoners receiving at least one dose as of Tuesday, according to data from the department.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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