More Inmates At 2 Western Mass. Jails Opt To Get COVID-19 Vaccine

Feb 5, 2021

The sheriffs of Hampshire and Hampden counties say a growing number of inmates in their jails are getting vaccinated, despite some initial hesitation.

Massachusetts jail inmates became eligible to get the coronavirus vaccine last month.

Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi said a little over 40% of inmates at the county correctional center have done so.

"At first, when we started to vaccinate, the inmates were a little hesitant — and that's quite common," he said. "We see it with the flu vaccination every year, and we certainly saw it with this coronavirus vaccination as well."

Cocchi said his staff has been working to educate inmates about the vaccine and more of them are choosing to get it.

Sheriff Patrick Cahillane, who oversees the Hampshire County Jail and House of Correction, said he's seeing a similar trend.

"I think after people heard that other people were taking it, and they had no adverse effects, more people are coming forward, and are willing to be vaccinated," Cahillane said.

Both sheriffs said there are no known cases of COVID-19 among inmates right now.

And Sheriff Cocchi is helping other people get vaccinated. His department's call center is assisting those 75 and older with signing up.