CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - The Chatham County Jail is working on a vaccination plan as eligibility will be open to inmates as well.
Chatham County Sheriff John Wilcher said he hopes they will choose to get vaccinated.
Sheriff Wilcher said he’s encouraging all of the inmates and corrections officers to get vaccinated because right now there aren’t any cases of COVID-19 in the jail, and he’d like to keep it that way.
“We’ve had a little over 100 cases in here. As of January 22, we hadn’t had a case in here since then. So, we’re almost two months with no cases,” Sheriff Wilcher said. “If you come to my jail for a felony, we swab you at the back door, we put you on quarantine until that comes back a negative test or you stay quarantined for 14 days.”
Sheriff Wilcher says about 50 percent of their officers are vaccinated. When eligibility was restricted to the 65 and older category, 15 inmates got vaccinated. Now, with it opening to everyone 16 and over, he expects this number to rise.
“My thing to the inmates and my thing to the general public is get your shot,” he said.
Sheriff Wilcher says CorrectHealth, who works in partnership with the jail, is the company that puts in the request for the vaccines. If inmates want to get it, they’ll be given the Johnson&Johnson version.
“I’m here to serve and protect the people in this county and those are the people I have to protect. You know, you have to treat them humanely back there,” Sheriff Wilcher said.
In fact, Sheriff Wilcher says the inmates have been safer in the jail throughout the pandemic than they would be out in the general public.
“If you got sick in here, you saw a doctor immediately.”
Dr. Lawton Davis, with the Coastal Health District, said they have worked with local jails to make sure vaccines are available. They have even come to the jail to do some of the vaccinations.