Delhi Prisons initiates drive to educate inmates about vaccination eligibility

‘Kin told to send details via WhatsApp’

The Delhi Prisons Department has initiated a drive to educate and inform inmates about their eligibility to get vaccinated against COVID-19, said officials on Sunday.

The government has allowed vaccination for everyone above the age of 18 from May 1. Director General (Prisons) Sandeep Goel said they are encouraging the inmates to get the jab at the earliest.

“We are informing the inmates that now all of them will be eligible for the vaccination. We are encouraging them to get vaccinated. The process is already on inside the jails for prisoners above 45 years of age,” Mr. Goel said.

Total inmates

There are a total of 20,300 inmates in the three jails of the Delhi Prisons Department — Tihar, Rohini and Mandoli. More than 450 inmates have been vaccinated so far, a senior jail official said, adding that none of them reported any complications.

The vaccination drive for the inmates started on March 18.

On April 17, around 50 eligible inmates were vaccinated at a COVID centre established at Rohini Jail.

The officials said they are asking the family members of the inmates to send the required documents through WhatsApp to the jail officer for the vaccination process.

The prisons department has set up COVID-19 vaccination centres inside Tihar and Rohini Jails.

According to data shared by the prisons department, 241 fresh COVID cases have been reported among the inmates since March 2021. Of them, 14 have recovered and there are 227 active cases.

Similarly, 60 staff members have tested positive for the virus since March 2021. None of them have recovered yet, the data said.

In view of surge in cases, the officials said they are taking several measures to ensure that the infection does not spread inside the prisons. Inmates are no longer allowed to gather inside the library or for music and sports activities. The jails have been divided into several wards and the movement of inmates cannot move between these wards, the officials said.

“We have sensitised the inmates about the virus, and they have been told to maintain social distancing norms”, they said.

The first COVID case was reported in Rohini Jail on May 13, 2020. Two COVID-19 positive inmates of Mandoli Jail died on June 15 and July 4, 2020. Both were senior citizens.

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