Conroe, TX

First Vaccines To Be Administered To Montgomery Co. Jail Inmates

Montgomery County Gazette

By: Jessica Shorten

CONROE, TX – The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office will be offering the first vaccine doses to inmates at the Montgomery County Jail this week after a small allocation from the state.

The Montgomery County Jail received 100 doses of the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine this week, the first direct allocation to the facility. According to Lt. Scott Spencer, those doses will be prioritized to inmates which require chronic care and those 65 and older.

This is the first time the Montgomery County Jail will be distributing vaccines to inmates in their population. Until now, logistics had been the biggest deciding factor regarding getting vaccines to inmates. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines both require two doses around 28 days apart. However, as inmates tend to move between jails, bond out, or simply finish their sentence, there was no way to guarantee the same inmate would get to receive the same brand of vaccine at the correct time.

However, the new single dose Johnson & Johnson will allow jail staff to fully vaccinate inmates with one shot, without fear of not being able to get the same inmate their needed second dose at the correct time.

The Joe Corley ICE Detention Facility also received a shipment of 500 Moderna doses this week as well. Previously, the Joe Corley detention center received 100 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on March 8, 2021. However, the facility has decided to go forward with using two-shot Moderna vaccines.

Based on information from ICE, there have been 51 confirmed COVID-19 cases within the Joe Corley facility, and 1 inmate death. At the Montgomery Processing Center, also managed by ICE, there have been 276 confirmed COVID-19 cases since last November, with 2 inmates currently on watch for possible infection.

According to the Montgomery County Jail Roster, there are currently 886 inmates at the facility; but that number can easily reach 1,200. However, efforts have been made to keep capacity at the jail below limits to allow for some social distancing in the facility through a number of practices, namely a greater use of personal recognizance bonds.

Experts have long held prisons as prime breeding grounds for COVID-19 outbreaks if the virus is introduced into the facility, which is why efforts to minimize outside contact, such as visitation, and keep social distancing as much as possible has been critical over the past year and a half. However, with vaccine eligibility opening up to all adults in the State of Texas, vaccinating the prison population is also becoming a focus.

As for the Montgomery County Jail, the request for additional vaccine doses will be dependent on how inmate receive the vaccine. If there is not enough demand for doses, then the County will not request more for the jail. The vaccines in current use have only been authorized for emergency use, meaning they have not been fully approved by the FDA, which can take several years. Because of this, vaccines cannot be mandated or required by the government.

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The Montgomery County Gazette is an online newspaper serving the needs of the citizens of Montgomery County, Texas. While we cover news on the national and state level, we primarily focus on providing accurate and up-to-date local news and events. The Montgomery County Gazette aims to restore journalistic integrity to the media by not interpreting the news, but reporting the news. This is an added benefit to the residents of Montgomery County in delivering them news that is accurate, informative, and unbiased. Founded in 2015, the Montgomery County Gazette has grown exponentially from a simple Facebook page to this website. We are dedicated to the community because not only do we cover Montgomery County, we live here too.

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