Shelby County inmates get Covid vaccine ahead of schedule

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — WREG is working to learn more about a number of Covid shots that went to Shelby County inmates.

Mayor Lee Harris said the Shelby County Health Department offered shots to inmates during the snow storm a few weeks ago. At the time, officials said those doses were set to expire.

The Shelby County Health Department confirmed Thursday that 251 inmates at the Division of Corrections received the vaccine.

When asked for a comment, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office sent WREG a message saying, “On Sunday, February 14, 2021, following a request by health officials because of expiring vaccinations due to circumstances with inclement weather, 80 medically vulnerable inmates were identified at the main jail and offered the first round of the Covid-19 vaccine. Twenty-five of them accepted and were given the first dose.”

Under the state’s distribution plan, inmates are among the last people scheduled to get the vaccine.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office said nearly 300 inmates have come down with Covid since the beginning of the pandemic along with more than 350 employees. Two of those workers died.

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