Low vaccination acceptance at Faunce Corner jail

Mar 2, 2021

Despite being a Phase 1 group, a majority of inmates and staff at the Bristol County House of Correction have yet to accept their first shots of the Covid vaccine, according to state data.

Since the sheriff’s office began administering doses of the Moderna shots to inmates on Jan. 21, so far only 160 have gotten their inoculations — around 27% of the 587 currently residing in the Dartmouth jail.

Meanwhile, less than a third of the jail’s staff have gotten their first doses at the facility. As of Feb. 25, 173 staffers are vaccinated, while 384 have not gotten their jabs at the jail.

According to Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Jonathan Darling, one reason for the low uptake is that many inmates and staff members are still apprehensive about getting their shots.

Darling said that the vaccine has been offered to all inmates and staff, and continues to be offered to all inmates and staff in case any change their minds.

Sheriff Thomas Hodgson has also yet to get his first dose of the vaccine, but Darling said the sheriff will likely get his inoculations after the last of the staff get their second shots.

There are currently five active Covid-19 cases at the jail, with two inmates and three staffers infected.

When the Baker-Polito administration announced plans to begin vaccinations for congregate care facilities back in January, vaccinations were expected to last three weeks to inoculate everyone at the jail.

He noted that vaccine information is distributed in every unit via pamphlets and flyers, and through videos developed by UMass Medical School that play on the facility’s televisions.

Since the vaccination process began at the Dartmouth jail, Darling noted that more inmates have warmed up to getting their first dose after seeing that there “have been no real issues” or adverse reactions reported by others.

“I think it’s human nature to see other people have gotten it and they were okay and want to do it,” he said. “Every week we have gotten more and more inmates who have accepted it.”