Connecticut’s acting correction commissioner said staff at the state’s prisons will start being vaccinated against COVID-19 on Monday.
Angel Quiros made the announcement Thursday during a legislative hearing on his permanent appointment to the job.
It comes a day after correction officers expressed frustration with a lack of a vaccination plan in the prison system.
Quiros said the department has identified 27 prisoners who are 75 or older and they also will begin receiving shots on Monday. He did not say when the rest of the prison population would begin getting vaccinated.
Quiros said a survey of 5,400 staff members showed 1,962 willing to take the vaccination, 1,694 who indicated they will not and 663 who said they are undecided.
“They can’t be forced to take the vaccination,” he said. “We’re educating, sending out educational material. We want to get to a higher percentage. We have a potential to end probably with a low 60 compliance rate for the vaccination. We want that percentage higher.”
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Quiros said the vaccinations will be administered at clinics in seven prisons run by health care workers from Griffin Hospital in Derby.
Quiros said they expect to have the first stage of the two-dose vaccinations completed by Feb. 22.
The Department of Correction has reported 19 deaths related to COVID-19 during the pandemic, all among prisoners. Six of those have come this month.