During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday, Senator Richard Blumenthal questioned the Federal Bureau of Prisons Director about the COVID-19 vaccination rate at Danbury Federal Correctional Institution. About 60 percent of staff and 43 percent of inmates have been vaccinated so far.
According to a report filed by FCI Danbury officials last week, about 40 percent of inmates have declined getting vaccinated. Director Michael Carvajal says 323 inmates and 162 FCI Danbury staff had been fully vaccinated.
Across, the Bureau of Prisons’s 122 facilities, vaccination acceptance rate is around 51 percent. In response to a question from Blumenthal, Carvajal said the bureau would be receptive to suggestions for ways to improve vaccine acceptance.
All Bureau staff have been offered one of the COVID-19 vaccines and by April 19, all inmates will be eligible for a vaccine.
In January, Senator Chris Murphy, Representative Jahana Hayes and Blumenthal sent a letter to then-Warden Easter asking about FCI Danbury’s medical staffing and capacity to provide medical care and treatment to incarcerated individuals who become ill due to COVID-19 or other underlying conditions. They were told “FCI Danbury medical staff are actively recruiting in an attempt to fill current vacant positions.” But now, Carvajal says they’re at 102% staffing. He says they’ve over hired correctional officers and there are three medical vacancies.