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Hawaii will pay inmates $50 to get coronavirus vaccines

October 15, 2021 GMT

HONOLULU (AP) — The Hawaii Department of Public Safety says certain inmates will get $50 to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Hawaii inmates who were incarcerated on or after March 3 are eligible, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Friday.

More than 2,500 inmates in Hawaii and at an Arizona facility that houses inmates from the state qualify.

The effort is one of several nationwide. Hawaii received $615,000 in federal funds to pay for the program.

The program is scheduled to run until the end of 2024.

The Department of Public Safety “is doing everything it can to educate inmates about the vaccine and encourage everyone to get vaccinated,” said Tommy Johnson, the deputy director for corrections, in a statement. “We’ve seen a substantial increase in inmate vaccinations that we believe is a result of our education efforts. It is our hope that inmates who are still on the fence about getting vaccinated will participate.”

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At least nine Hawaii inmates have died and 2,863 have been infected with coronavirus. Nearly 400 corrections staff have been infected.

Department of Public Safety officials “have been trying to encourage inmates as well as the staff to do it,” state Sen. Clarence Nishihara told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “It protects everybody if they get their numbers up.”