DOC vaccination on hold due to Johnson & Johnson pause

Department of Corrections (PNC file photo)

The original plan was to get inmates confined at the Department of Corrections vaccinated against the coronavirus by next week.

But that has since changed after the governor made an announcement Wednesday to halt the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Guam.

The FDA and CDC called for an immediate pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after reports of blood clotting issues in some cases.

The plan was to use the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to administer to prisoners because it is a one-time shot.

DOC spokesperson Major Antone Aguon said in a statement to PNC that the vaccination schedule for next week is on hold.

He further stated that it remains pending under further guidance from Public Health.

Meanwhile, DOC did a survey last week to get the number of detainees wanting to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Presently, there are 559 individuals confined in DOC.

About 534 males and 25 females are locked up at the correctional facility.

The survey has been completed and results show that 66% of its population want to get vaccinated against the virus, according to Aguon.

He says that 367 individuals agreed to get the shot while 142 individuals declined the vaccine.

Aguon said that those who didn’t want to obtain the COVID vaccine did not specifically explain why.

“You know some of them just don’t want to take the vaccine. Some have health problems and they are just not sure about it. Others just don’t want to take it. They have no explanation for not wanting to take it,” Aguon said.

He added that those who opted not to take the vaccine might not be fully educated about the vaccine but he said the department already did its part and gave them the facts about the vaccine.

Aguon said that they will continue to educate them and hopefully they can change a few minds.

“Some of them, even with the education, just don’t want to do it. It’s just like even with the COVID testing, we have some that when they come into the prison they refuse to get the COVID test. And so, of course, there are obviously some that are just going to refuse to get the vaccine no matter what. They are gonna have their mind set up that they’re just not going to get vaccinated for whatever reason,” Aguon said.