Today, CDCR Secretary Kathleen Allison communicated excellent news. The letter above reads:
To All Loved Ones of Incarcerated Individuals and Valued External Stakeholders,
We have an important update in our response efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic. As most of you know, the vaccine has arrived in California, and it is safe and effective. The vaccine is being made available on a phased basis, and as a state, we are committed to a fair and equitable allocation and distribution process.
To that end, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS) will receive our first vaccines allocation as soon as this month, and we are currently working with our public health partners on a distribution plan. The initial focus will be on people at high risk of becoming infected or severely ill from COVID-19, as well as frontline workers.
We will have information on our website, and will update it regularly to ensure we are keeping everyone informed on these efforts.
CDCR and CCHCS have also sent out a similar communication to the incarcerated population and staff. We encourage everyone to accept the vaccine once they are eligible to receive it, and in accordance with the phased distribution approach. These collective efforts will set us on the path to recovery, and will allow us to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in our institutions, and safely reopen to in-person visiting, group programming, volunteering, and other opportunities.
If you have questions please email COVID19@cdcr.ca.gov. We are unable to address questions about specific individuals with this correspondence; however, we value your feedback and welcome your questions about the vaccine program and our COVID-19 response efforts.
In the meantime, we are continuing to ensure everyone is taking every precaution to ensure the safety and wellness of everyone who lives and works in our institutions. We are thankful to the families, friends and loved ones of our incarcerated population, as well as our stakeholders. Your hard work, dedication, and sacrifice this year has not been lost on us, and we are appreciative of all your efforts.
For more information on these response efforts, please visit the CDCR/CCHCS COVID response page. For more information about this project and the COVID-19 vaccine, visit this web page.
Take care of yourselves and take care of each other.
Kathleen Allison Clark Kelso
I received the above in a format that did not have clickable links, but I assume the links take you here and here. I have many questions, which I will email to the above address tomorrow morning, including whether the vaccine is mandatory for staff, whether readiness/buy in questionnaires have been administered, and whether choice to vaccinate will be linked to incarceration conditions. I hope to provide updates soon.