Low Vaccination Rate for Prison Guards, Inmates

About 40% of Kansas prison staff and about 30% of inmates have declined to be vaccinated for COVID-19, despite massive outbreaks at lockups that have infected thousands.

The Kansas Department of Corrections is in its sixth week of offering vaccinations to inmates and staff, the Topeka Capital-Journal reports.

It plans to continue operating vaccination clinics through mid-April, agency spokeswoman Carol Pitts said in an email.

The agency doesn’t require employees or inmates to explain their reasons for declining the vaccine.

Secretary of Corrections Jeff Zmuda previously declined to reveal the percentage of corrections employees who rejected the vaccine, telling the newspaper in an email last month that it was a “personal choice.”

Pitts explained that the circumstances had changed.

“The choice to accept the vaccine is a personal healthcare decision every individual must make, ideally without additional pressure from external sources. All staff have now had an opportunity to make their decision, and we are now sharing the data.”