By Dillon Thomas

DENVER (CBS4) – Inmates being held at the Denver County Jail will soon be given the COVID-19 vaccine, Mayor Michael Hancock announced Thursday. Hancock announced the Denver Sheriff Office partnered with Denver Health to make vaccinating inmates a possibility.

“The Denver Sheriff’s Department just received approval from the state to work with Denver Health to begin vaccinating eligible individuals incarcerated in the Denver Jail,” Hancock said.

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Not all inmates at the facility will be eligible to receive their vaccines immediately. Hancock implied vaccinations will only be administered to those should would have qualified elsewhere if not currently detained.

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“We have been working on getting those inmates included as appropriate of their age for some time. It has been particularly challenging with the two vaccines that we’ve had,” said Dr. Bill Burman, Director of Denver Public Health.

(credit: CBS)

Burman said the shelf life and storage needs of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines made vaccinating qualified inmates difficult within the jail facilities. Now, with 45,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines scheduled for delivery in Colorado this week, access is more feasible.

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“The Pfizer vaccine requires ultra cold storage. Which is only available really in hospitals. The Moderna vaccine has the challenge of once you open the vile, you have to use 11 doses in six hours,” Burman said. “This new vaccine will make it so much easier for us to vaccinate age-appropriate, and medical condition appropriate, persons at the Denver County Jail.”

Dillon Thomas