Ely State Prison

This photo shows Ely State Prison, the location of Nevada's execution chamber, Wednesday, July 11, 2018, near Ely, Nev. (AP Photo/John Locher)

LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- The Nevada Department of Corrections has begun administering COVID-19 vaccines to inmates.

According to the NDOC, inmates 65 and older started getting vaccinated in accordance with the Nevada COVID-19 playbook.  On March 4, eligibility was expanded to all inmates who requested a vaccination.

“We are pleased to get this effort under way,” said Deputy Director William Quenga. 

In Northern Nevada, 44 inmates were vaccinated on Thursday with the Moderna vaccine. 

Among the inmates currently housed in Nevada prisons, 46% of the 10,866 who requested a vaccine have been vaccinated, according to NDOC.

Inmates who got the vaccine said they were grateful to be eligible. 

“I’m very happy,” said an 80-year-old offender, with no pre-existing health conditions. “We got all this virus going around, so I need it. I don’t want to chance nothing.”

Another inmate in his early 70s said his time in the medical field taught him to trust vaccines.

“I have underlying conditions,” he said. “I’m not ready to leave this world. But I’m not just doing this to protect myself, I want to protect others around me.”

Over the next several weeks the NDOC will continue to follow the Nevada COVID-19 response playbook guidelines to ensure more inmate groups can be vaccinated.

Inmates are vaccinated under the same priority as the general public, according to NDOC officials.

Copyright 2021 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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