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State prison inmates paid to get COVID-19 vaccine

PITTSBURGH — State prison inmates in Pennsylvania are getting paid to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to the Department of Corrections, the money is not coming from any taxpayer funded accounts.

A spokesperson for the DOC sent Channel 11 a statement:

“Everyone knows that prisons are breeding grounds for infectious diseases like COVID-19, largely because inmates live so close together. By any reasonable standard, incarcerated people should rank high on the priority list because when outbreaks occur inside prisons, they can endanger people on the outside, too. Prison staff members can carry the virus to their family members and ultimately the community. Getting vaccinated will help protect you from getting COVID-19. There is a 90-95% efficacy in preventing the virus two weeks after getting the second dose – so if everyone gets the vaccine and builds immunity, there will be less likelihood of exposure or transmission. Additionally, once an inmate receives both doses, $25 will be added to the inmate’s account. This statewide inmate incentive comes from the Inmate General Welfare Fund which is NOT taxpayer funding from the General Fund appropriated by the General Assembly. Staff incentives will also be offered, but they vary depending on the facility.”