Johnson County Jail vaccinates 58 inmates for COVID-19 after 8 test positive

Coronavirus

JOHNSON COUNTY — The Johnson County Jail remains on lockdown Monday evening after eight inmates tested positive for COVID-19.

Jail staff began administering the Johnson and Johnson vaccine Monday.

Sheriff Duane Burgess was surprised by the small number of inmates getting vaccinated. 

“58 out of 340,” Sheriff Burgess said. “I thought there would be more.” 

Jail staff cannot require an inmate to be tested or vaccinated. 

“It makes it difficult,” Sheriff Burgess said.

“It takes time and organization, plus security measures,” said Christopher Simons, Director of Clinical Services for the Wayne County Health Department. “It is a process to get those people immunized but we’re working towards getting that taken care of.”

The Indiana Department of Corrections says vaccines are available to all incarcerated adults. It lists more than 80% of inmates in prisons have received a vaccine. 

Still, Sheriff Burgess says those choosing not be vaccinated put the community at risk.

“It’s troubling because you’re trying to do what’s best for them and it hinders the folks working in the jail,” Sheriff Burgess said.

He says one reason for the hesitation is going into isolation.

“They don’t like to go into quarantine because it restricts their usage of phone and video that they have now they can talk to family members,” Sheriff Burgess said.

Jails staff will continue to offer vaccines to incoming and current inmates and hope education will be the best tool in limiting the spread of COVID-19.

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