RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Data released by the state showed the North Carolina Department of Public Safety has the lowest vaccination rate among agencies under Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s authority at 51 percent fully vaccinated. That data also showed offenders in the prison system have a much higher vaccination rate than the people working there.
Even if vaccination rates were higher, however, a CDC report showed the delta variant would still create a high transmission area.
In July, a COVID-19 outbreak involving the delta variant was identified in a federal prison in Texas. It infected 74 percent of inmates in two housing units.
Infections were higher among the unvaccinated. The CDC’s report found 70 percent of fully vaccinated people and 93 percent of unvaccinated people tested positive. The CDC found three of the four hospitalizations and the only death occurred in unvaccinated people.
Seventy-nine percent of the inmate population at the prison were fully vaccinated. In their report, the CDC said this data showed the potential for delta variant outbreaks in congregate settings despite high vaccination coverage. They said this case highlighted the importance of continuing other mitigation efforts like testing, masking, prompt medical isolation and quarantine for infected persons.
The latest state data show about 69 percent of North Carolina inmates are fully vaccinated compared to about 51 percent of employees. For the state as a whole, 63 percent of adults are fully vaccinated, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
Earlier this year, the prison system offered incentives to offenders to get vaccinated, including having their sentences reduced by five days.