Wisconsin inmates' COVID vaccination rate nearly 70%

Nearly 70% of eligible inmates in Wisconsin prisons have been fully vaccinated for the coronavirus, according to the Department of Corrections.

DOC Secretary Kevin Carr said cases of COVID-19 have declined sharply since the early months of the pandemic because of the high vaccination rate for eligible youth and adult prisoners.

The vaccination rate is about 20% higher than the rate for the general population statewide, according to the latest statistics from the Department of Health Services.

"We’re not satisfied with 70 percent," Carr told Wisconsin Public Radio Monday. "I’d love to see it a whole lot higher, and we’re working toward that through education and communication with the persons in our care and our staff.""

There haven’t been more than three active COVID-19 cases in state prisons on any day since mid-June, Carr said. The department reported having only one active case as of Monday afternoon.

Early in the pandemic, the coronavirus spread rapidly through some prisons, including the Green Bay Correctional Institution where more than a quarter of inmates tested positive for the virus.

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Prisoners were among the first groups prioritized for shots in Wisconsin, because of their close living quarters.

There are about 20,000 inmates currently in Wisconsin prisons, according to state statistics.

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