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Flu shots for inmates

Posted

Has anyone seen any specific guidelines for inmates who should receive the flu shot?

We have a limited number of flu shots available and with the current CDC guidelines, MANY of our inmates meet requirements.

How are you handling this in your prison/jail? :

I found an article in the Dallas Morning News that says TDCJ has "1100 vaccines reserved for inmates with chronic heart disease, kidney disease, HIV or AIDS, inmates over age 65 and to pregnant women. The number of inmates who will receive the vaccine this year is less than 1 percent of the system's 150,775 inmates."

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience.

You mean to tell me that prison inmates can get flu shots when millions of at-risk people who DON'T break the law can't? Give me a break!!

Nurse Ratched, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics/Oncology/Psych/College Health.

Interesting question. Certainly it is in your best interest to avoid an outbreak in such a confined area, but I presume that inmates would fall under the same updated criteria:

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/0405shortage.htm

Normally those living in congregate settings are encouraged to receive the vaccination, but in the time of shortage, the groups mentioned above receive priority.

Edited to add: ultimately, as in the general population, costs to taxpayers are reduced if preventative measures are taken to avoid illnesses in the inmate population.

I totally agree with you about wanting to keep the FLU out of the prisons. Looks like my company has a better number of FLU shots available to the inmates than TDCJ, however there is still a major shortage.

Thanks for the info!

You mean to tell me that prison inmates can get flu shots when millions of at-risk people who DON'T break the law can't? Give me a break!!

Don't you know, they get better health care than most of the WORLD!

The issues I have revolve around our federal units. It is a mandatory standard that our federal prisoners (at most of our units, this means non-US citizens!) which are in the high risk population are given the flu shots or sign a refusal. This is fine when we don't have a shortage. When we have a shortage, our citizens should come first!

As you saw in my post, TDCJ (Texas Dept of Criminal Justice) has only 1100 flu vaccines for the 150,000 + inmates. They are using it sparingly and for those who really need it. I wonder how much the federal units have received.

Our biggest question is what is a chronic condition?? In correctional health care, it is seizures, diabetes, HTN, Cardiac, HIV, Hyperlipidemia, Hepatitis, etc. The CDC guidelines list "chronic condition" as one of the high risk groups. Some of the ones I just listed, I don't consider high risk. I was hoping the Federal Bureau of Prisons would update it's requirements for the flu vaccine, but so far, I have been unable to find any such update.

I have noticed several newspaper articles where the public is outraged regarding this situation. Can't blame them a bit!

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience.

It seems to me that just like on the 'outside', inmates with lung disease, as well as those who are immunocompromised, would take priority over anyone else because the flu can be devastating to anyone with respiratory issues, HIV/AIDS, or anything that knocks out the immune system. Cardiac conditions and diabetes alone wouldn't warrant the use of such limited resources.......but that's just me, I don't make the rules.

Good luck to you. :)

We have approx 200 doses of the flu vaccine that hasn't been used yet. We have been told NOT to use it, and may even have to send it back. The inmates are getting antsy and accusing us of holding out on them. Sheesh! Soo, We still don't know if we will be able to use any of the vaccine that we have, or if only the very high risk inmates will get it.

I too get very angry when I hear that offenders get the flu shots but individuals that have not committed a crime and need the shot cannot get it. I too think that when you mention chronic illness in the prison population there should be more detail given as to what bunch that is. I don't think that just because you have Hep C you should get to get the flu shot. I think it should be only those offenders that have SERIOUS medical conditions, pregnant women and the elderly in the prison setting. They mention in that article from the CDC that health care workers should get a flu shot as well. I believe we should too but if it were between me and a another person who really needed it, I would give my shot up. As a nurse I have been able to fend off most of the nasty bugs that go around. Plus if I were to get the flu.......I would be able to take a day off to rest~! I know that the flu can be very dangerous but again, they need to be more specific on who gets the shot and who doesn't. I bet you the Department of Mental Health is giving out shots for all of their patients........not fair at all! I know that they are insane most of them but there are many that are not insane but just copped a plea to keep out of prison. I think once again, they need to prioritize which patient will get the shot based on their medical conditions.

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 27 years experience.

As a case manager, I talk to my nursing home admissions people daily...there are no flu shots available for the elderly, non-inmate population. On one hand, I say they shouldn't get them. However, on the other hand, consider the cost to provide healthcare to them if they become ill...I'm not sure which way to go!

Cheyenne RN,BSHS

Specializes in Med Surg, ICU, Infection, Home Health, and LTC. Has 35 years experience.

I have worked in juvenile correction facilities after burning out in critical care. Now I am back in the hospital on the medical units. There are no flu shots for the renal patients, chronic peds cases, or anyone else.

I have a hard time thinking that those who chose to break the law have better health care and better access to medications than those on the outside.

There is something seriously wrong with a society that puts the lawbreakers and criminals rights before the innocent. Don't know that the problems can be fixed. I just think things are terribly out of balance. :imbar

Our tax dollars pay for everything else for them, so why are we surprised they're getting flu shots too. Of course, our caring employers will be browbeating us law abiding nurses and giving us points against our evals when we miss work due to the flu.

There is definetly something wrong with society! Our tax money pays for a lot of things for the incarcerated. You just wouldn't believe the kinds of things these people get! Seriously, I have so many of them that would rather be in prison than back out on the streets. And in the Department of Mental health, they simply get EVERYTHING they want. So who would want to leave there? Something is terribly wrong with the whole system when they put these kind of people first and people like us that follow the rules etc get hardly nothing especially when we need it!

:angryfire

I have worked in juvenile correction facilities after burning out in critical care. Now I am back in the hospital on the medical units. There are no flu shots for the renal patients, chronic peds cases, or anyone else.

I have a hard time thinking that those who chose to break the law have better health care and better access to medications than those on the outside.

There is something seriously wrong with a society that puts the lawbreakers and criminals rights before the innocent. Don't know that the problems can be fixed. I just think things are terribly out of balance. :imbar

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