Kansas prisons dodged a delta surge after getting hit hard early

Vaccinations helped Kansas prisons avoid the worst of the delta variant surge, after having a high infection rate at the beginning of the pandemic.


State News

September 16, 2021 - 10:00 AM

Kansas prisons were hotbeds of coronavirus infections early in the pandemic, but vaccinations appear to have protected those inmates living in close quarters. Photo by Nomin Ujiyediin/Kansas News Service

TOPEKA, Kansas — Two out of every three Kansas inmates have had COVID-19 and Kansas saw the fifth-highest infection rate of prisoners in the country through the course of the pandemic.

But when the delta variant began driving up cases across the state, Kansas prisons largely avoided another surge because more than three-fourths of inmates had been vaccinated — a far higher rate than the general population.

The decrease in reported cases coincides with vaccine availability for inmates. At roughly 78%, Kansas has the 11th most vaccinated inmate population in the country, according to a prisoner advocacy group. Barely 50% of all Kansans have received at least one vaccine dose.

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