Half of state inmates get at least one shot

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Just over half – 51% – of the people locked up in the state’s prisons have received at least one dose of the vaccine against COVID-19, according to the New Mexico Corrections Department.

Eric Harrison, an NMCD spokesman, said that 1,874 inmates in 11 prisons are fully vaccinated and that 1,046 are waiting on their second dose.

He said that among staffers, 83% have received at least one dose of vaccine – 1,624 are fully vaccinated, and 38 are waiting on a second dose.

“NMCD’s goal is to have 100% of interested inmates receive a vaccination by June 1st,” Harrison said.

He said about 73% of inmates have expressed acceptance of the vaccine.

“Under the leadership of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, New Mexico has led the nation in the efficient and equitable administration of the vaccine” Corrections Secretary Alisha Tafoya Lucero said. “Our agency will continue to educate and encourage staff in facilities, field offices and administration areas, and justice-involved populations to receive the vaccine.”

The corrections department is vaccinating inmates in state and privately run prisons but not those operated by federal agencies such as the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or the U.S. Marshals Service, Harrison said. He said he has not received data on how many federal inmates have been vaccinated.

New Mexico has one of the highest rates of vaccinations among corrections staff, according to the Prison Policy Initiative, a nonprofit that used data compiled by The Marshall Project and the Associated Press.

According to the COVID Prison Project, a public database, 503.5 per 1,000 inmates at New Mexico prisons have gotten the virus and 28 have died.

This story has been updated to reflect that the corrections department is vaccinating inmates in state and private prisons.

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