CDC: Many Florida inmates say they will refuse the COVID vaccine

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More than half of incarcerated or detained people said they would refuse a COVID vaccine, according to a recent study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report said more than 5,000 inmates at correctional and detention facilities across four states — which included Florida — were interviewed prior to vaccines receiving emergency use authorization. Among the group of participants, more than 2,200 said they would take a dose of the vaccine. 

However, more than 2,800 said they would hesitate to take or outright refuse the vaccine. The CDC says the willingness to be vaccinated was lowest among Black participants between the ages of 18 and 29.

The most common reason given was the need for more information. Almost a third of inmates feared the vaccine would flat out not work. 

Nearly 40 percent of the inmates that were interviewed were held in Florida facilities — 54 percent of which said they’d refuse the vaccine.

“Incarcerated or detained persons might have inherent higher distrust of governmental systems based on their interactions with law enforcement or the justice system or their experiences with institutional racism, emphasizing the need for trusted messengers to directly appeal to these persons,” the study says. 

Prisons and jails across the country are at high risk for coronavirus outbreaks, according to the CDC. They say the reasons include the difficulty of maintaining social distance, limited spaces for quarantines, poor ventilation, and very limited resources when it comes to testing and protective equipment. 

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