COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy high among Jamaican prison inmates

It is psychologically embedded in inmates to not trust the system, that’s according to one prison officer who spoke to BUZZ.

The prison officer who disclosed that he only recently got jabbed said that it is hard to push the message of vaccination, especially when there is no incentive.

“What do you say to someone who is doing life, take the vaccine to preserve your life so you can remain incarcerated,” the prison officer said, as he sought to explain why vaccines aren’t particularly appealing to prisoners.

“It is a tough sell,” he added, noting that he was hesitant but took the jab with great trepidation only to secure his employment.

According to information from the Department of Correctional Services, only 300 of the nearly 4000 inmates incarcerated on island have been inoculated.

The low vaccination rates, come even as one of the most influential deejays in the island’s music industry, who is also an inmate, was jabbed.

Vybz Kartel’s inoculation, though much publicized, has done little to change perceptions among fellow inmates, even amidst rising cases at correctional facilities.

The department said it would be beefing up measures to protect prison employees and prison inmates, including strict enforcement of temperature checks, mask wearing as it continues to stress the importance of vaccination.