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Washington begins vaccinating prison staff, inmates for COVID-19

Staff and inmates in a long-term care unit at Coyote Ridge Corrections Center in Central Washington will be among the first to receive coronavirus shots.

SEATTLE — The Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) has begun vaccinating some prison workers and inmates for coronavirus.

As of Monday, DOC says it has received limited COVID-19 vaccine doses, and vaccinations began for certain inmates and workers in the Phase 1A prioritization, which is based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Washington State Department of Health.

This includes department staff working in Coyote Ridge Corrections Center’s Sage East unit, which is a long-term care unit that houses less than 40 geriatric inmates with chronic health needs. Sage East inmates and about 20 other long-term care patients that don’t live at Sage East will also be offered priority vaccines.

Two inmates have died of COVID-19 at that Central Washington facility since March.

RELATED: 'Feeling helpless:' Families of Washington state inmates fearful as COVID-19 numbers climb

Initial vaccinations will also include staff at medical in-patient and medical isolation units at multiple facilities with COVID-19 patients, according to DOC.

As of Wednesday, there are 2,380 active cases of COVID-19 among Washington’s incarcerated population. Five inmates have died since the start of the pandemic, according to DOC data.

RELATED: Will COVID-19 vaccines work on the new coronavirus variant?

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