Vaccinations slow down at Cook County Jail, with some inmates and staff reluctant

Cook County Jail Photo credit Getty Images

Cook County Jail is reporting success in controlling Covid following spikes last year but now Sheriff Tom Dart says there’s a new concern: Convincing inmates and staff to get vaccinated.

About 1,500 jail detainees and 2,500 staff have been vaccinated. But now, vaccinations have slowed, Dart said.

“Both in employees and on the detainee side, we’re starting to see a plateau,” he said Friday.  “We were getting 50 to 100 new ones a day.  And now we’re getting 10 to 20 — maybe.”

What’s going on? Dart says about 28% of jail staff have said they don’t want the vaccine, for a range of reasons.

Meantime, some inmates say they don’t want to be vaccinated because they’ll be moved to a double-occupancy cell instead of a single, the sheriff said.

The number of cases reported in the jail: Only 3 out of about 5,500 hundred inmates.