Westmoreland jail moves to in-house covid-19 shots

·1 min read

Oct. 26—Covid-19 vaccinations will soon be administered in-house to inmates at Westmoreland County Prison.

Warden Bryan Kline said Monday that the jail's medical provider has been granted permission to administer shots, a move local officials hope will increase the vaccination rate at the Hempfield lockup.

"Vaccinations will be offered to all inmates once they are admitted to the jail," Kline said.

As of Monday, just 25% of the 530 inmates at the jail have been vaccinated.

The jail has held vaccination clinics every six weeks with doses provided by a local pharmacy. Inmates received the two-dose Pfizer vaccine and as a result some inmates had rejected the shots saying they didn't expect to be at the jail for their second shot, Kline said.

Kline said the new program will offer the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine to inmates and will be available on a daily basis if needed.

Wexford Health Services Inc., which provides medical services to inmates the jail will administer the vaccines.

There have been two substantial coronavirus outbreaks since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 as more than 170 inmates and dozens of staffers have been infected.

One inmate was in quarantine on Monday after testing positive for coronavirus, Kline said.

The county has not made public the percentage of prison guards and other staffers who have been vaccinated. The county has not mandated vaccinations for employees, including those who work at the jail.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, rcholodofsky@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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