U.S. Penitentiary at Lewisburg employees and inmates will be offered the COVID-19 vaccination when it becomes available, a union representative said Friday.
Local 148 President Andy Kline said he was informed that staff have been told the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) will make the vaccination available to any employee and inmate who wants it.
"The BOP is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a public-private partnership established by the federal government, known as Operation Warp Speed, to ensure the BOP is prepared to receive the COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available," confirmed BOP spokesman Emery Nelson.
A limited amount of an approved vaccination is expected to be available before the end of the year in the U.S., according to the CDC, "but there may not be enough doses available for all adults. Supplies will increase over time, and all adults should be able to get vaccinated later in 2021. However, a COVID-19 vaccine may not be available for young children until more studies are completed."
Pfizer is requesting federal approval for the emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine to allow it to be available by early December. The company said the vaccine appears to be 95 percent effective.
There are 125,056 federal inmates and about 36,000 staff members working in federal prisons nationwide.
As of Friday, 3,584 inmates and 1,190 employees have tested positive for the coronavirus. The disease has attributed to the death of 141 inmates and two staff members, according to the BOP website.
There are four active COVID-19 cases among USP Lewisburg employees. Eighty-six inmates and 12 staffers at the prison have recovered after testing positive, the website said.
At the Allenwood complex in White Deer, there are 71 active cases of COVID-19 among inmates and seven active cases involving staffers. A total of 124 inmates and 15 employees have recovered after contracting the disease, the website said.