Over 900 inmates in Kot Bhalwal jail; 700 in Jammu district jail without vaccination
JAMMU: Despite repeated requests from jail authorities in Jammu, over 1,600 inmates in Kot Bhalwal Central Jail and Amphalla District Jail are without COVID-19 vaccination. The jail authorities have claimed that they have sent repeated requests to the health department, however, no response has been received so far.On May 11, 2021, the J&K government had issued SoPs for vaccination of persons without prescribed identity cards wherein directions were passed with regard to immunization of prison inmates also.
The government’s direction to the Director General of Police (DGP) Prisons, J&K stated to coordinate with the health department as well as Divisional Commissioner and District authorities, in order to ensure that all jail inmates are vaccinated immediately in terms of new SoPS.
The jail authorities are repeatedly requesting the health department to start vaccination in jails of Jammu district. The recent communiqué from DIG Prisons Department Dr Mohd Sultan Lone to the Director General, Family Welfare, MCH and Immunization states that the vaccination process in jails has not started so far to prevent spread of COVID-19 in the jails.As COVID-19 cases are on rise and the health of inmates is the responsibility of the government, it is imperative that appropriate measures are taken for their protection. The jail authorities have also requested that all jail inmates irrespective of their age, may be covered under the drive. Keeping in view the security concerns, vaccinations centres be established in the jails in consultation with DGP Prisons, the home department had written to health department on April 4, 2021.Around 4,358 inmates are presently in J&K jail. In the past, around 500 have been tested positive, out of which three have died so far.When contacted, the jail authorities at Kot Bhalwal Central Jail and Jammu District Jail confirmed that no vaccination drive has been started in both jails so far despite repeated requests. “Earlier, we were told that there is shortage of vaccine and now our requests are being passed from one office to another,” said jail authorities, adding, “a single spread of virus in either of the jails can be disastrous as its spread will not be controlled”.
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