What Do I Need to Know?

We are advocating for all incarcerated people to have access to the COVID-19 vaccine, knowing the high risk of exposure to COVID-19 in prison and jails. We also recognize the anxiety and stress that people may face when deciding whether to get the vaccine. The history and reality of unethical medical testing of Black and brown people, particularly those who are incarcerated, leads many to not trust the vaccine. In light of these concerns, we intend to provide accurate, up-to-date information about the vaccine.

Facts on the COVID-19 Vaccine and North Carolina’s Incarcerated

  • Incarcerated people are documented as contracting the coronavirus at a rate of nearly 3 to 1 compared to prison staff1
  • 50 people incarcerated in North Carolina state prisons have died since the start of the pandemic2
  • 24% of prison staff have been vaccinated
  • 20% of incarcerated people have been vaccinated (data as of April 13, 2021)3
  • 65% of incarcerated people have expressed interest in getting the vaccine, as reported through internal surveys4, 5
  • All adults in North Carolina are eligible for the vaccine beginning April 7
  • NCDPS reports that information about the vaccine is being made available in facilities

COVID-19 vaccine basics

  • Vaccines teach the immune system how to recognize and fight off a specific virus. The COVID-19 vaccines prevent vaccinated people from getting sick with COVID-19.
  • Vaccines are not used to treat people who are currently infected with COVID-19. People who have had COVID-19 previously, but are not currently infected, should still get the vaccine.
  • There are currently three vaccines available in the United States:
    – The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose
    – The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses, three weeks apart
    – The Moderna vaccine requires two doses, four weeks apart

The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective

  • The vaccine is given as a shot in the upper arm.
  • The vaccines are 95% effective at preventing illness due to COVID-19.
  • There is no mandatory vaccination requirement from either the state or federal government.
  • Both vaccines were found to be safe and effective in tens of thousands of adults (including Black and Latinx people) who participated in high-quality research. The vaccines have now been administered to millions of people and have a strong record of safety.
  • No ID or social security number is necessary. You may be asked for your social security number, but you are not required to provide it.
  • Vaccine providers may not share any personal information about you with ICE for immigration enforcement in custody of an individual under certain circumstances. Vaccine providers may not share any personal information about you with ICE for immigration enforcement.

If you or a loved one has trouble accessing the vaccine, contact the COVID-19 Vaccine Help Center at 1-888-675-4567

If you feel as if you or your loved one was or is being retaliated against for complaining about the prison conditions during COVID-19, or about prison staff not following the rules, please contact Jordan Wilkie, reporter at Carolina Public Press, at jwilkie@carolinapublicpress.org.

For more information on how to get your shot, visit: YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov

  1. https://www.ncdps.gov/our-organization/adult-correction/prisons/prisons-info-covid-19 (as of March 8, 2021- data updated March 2, 2021)
  2. https://carolinapublicpress.org/43105/what-do-prison-releases-by-court-settlement-mean-for-nc-residents-an-faq/
  3. https://www.ncdps.gov/our-organization/adult-correction/prisons/prisons-info-covid-19 (as of April 14, 2021- data updated April 13, 2021)
  4. https://www.ncdps.gov/our-organization/adult-correction/prisons/prisons-info-covid-19 (as of March 8, 2021- data updated March 2, 2021)
  5. https://carolinapublicpress.org/43105/what-do-prison-releases-by-court-settlement-mean-for-nc-residents-an-faq/