Today, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) announced that it is beginning vaccination of older, medically vulnerable federal inmates against COVID-19 as part of the first phase of the vaccine rollout, as recommended by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI).
CSC expects to begin the rollout of vaccinations to highest-risk inmates in federal correctional institutions starting on January 8, 2021. As further supply of the vaccine becomes available, it will eventually be offered to all federal inmates based on NACI prioritization guidance. At this time, CSC expects to vaccinate approximately 600 inmates in the first phase.
Under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, CSC has an obligation to provide essential health care to federally incarcerated inmates. To this end, the vaccine will be administered to federal inmates by CSC health care professionals. CSC has been working closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and has begun receiving doses of the Moderna vaccine, which was recently approved by Health Canada.
CSC staff are vaccinated by their home province or territory. CSC and PHAC are working closely with the provinces and territories to facilitate access to the COVID-19 vaccine for staff in accordance with the priority groups identified by NACI. CSC has health care workers who provide close, direct care to inmates diagnosed with COVID-19 and who work in congregate living settings. We are working closely with provinces to ensure vaccines are prioritized for these workers in the first phase.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, CSC has implemented rigorous infection prevention and control measures at its sites. Vaccines provide an additional measure to limit the spread of the virus and is key to further protect everyone.
Anne Kelly, CSC Commissioner is quoted as saying; “The health and safety of our employees, inmates, and the public is a top priority for the Correctional Service of Canada. This is very welcome news, as we know vaccines are a critical way to limit the spread of COVID-19. We will continue working with our public health partners, unions and stakeholders to roll out measures that help protect everyone during this public health pandemic.”