Corrections employees are 50% vaccinated as warrant deadline approaches
PORTLAND, Oregon (AP) – Officials said Wednesday that about 50% of the approximately 4,500 employees in the Oregon Department of Corrections are vaccinated against COVID-19.
The DOC approved exemptions for nearly 16% of its workforce, or 713 employees, which correctional officials said were primarily for religious reasons, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported..
The reported vaccination rate comes just before an executive order signed by Gov. Kate Brown on Oct. 18 goes into effect that requires some state employees to be fully vaccinated, apply for an exemption, or risk losing their use.
Correctional officers were among the first groups in the state to gain access to COVID-19 vaccines, as they work in environments where the coronavirus can easily spread.
While several unions of state employees negotiated later dates for the vaccinations, DOC spokeswoman Jennifer Black said next week’s deadline still applied to many employees in the department. from Oregon Corrections.
Corrections officials, on the other hand, said that 80% of adults held in the prison system are now vaccinated.
At the worst of the pandemic, Oregon prisons have seen some of the largest epidemics on a regular basis. Records show 44 people are in custody and three staff members have died from COVID-19.