The agency said that 129 out of 185 fully vaccinated prisoners caught the CCP virus, according to data compiled by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the CDC in the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published Tuesday. Separately, of 42 unvaccinated prisoners, 93 percent caught the virus during the outbreak in the undisclosed prison.
One unvaccinated person died, while four people needed hospital treatment in the outbreak, the data said. Three out of the four who were not vaccinated were hospitalized, the agency said.
The CDC data showed that seven unvaccinated and 21 fully vaccinated prisoners had previously contacted a documented case of COVID-19. Some studies have shown that individuals who previously contracted the CCP virus develop long-lasting and robust protection against the Delta variant.
Based on the new data, the CDC said that vaccinating most of the U.S. population should remain a priority.
And the agency said that “even with high vaccination rates, maintaining multicomponent prevention strategies,” such as “testing and masking for all persons and prompt medical isolation and quarantine for incarcerated persons remains critical to limiting [CCP virus] transmission in congregate settings where physical distancing is challenging.”
“Although attack rates, hospitalizations, and deaths were higher among unvaccinated than among vaccinated persons, duration of positive serial test results was similar for both groups. Infectious virus was cultured from vaccinated and unvaccinated infected persons,” the CDC also wrote.
Most prisoners in the facility were white males and had received Pfizer’s two-dose mRNA vaccine at least four months beforehand, the data showed.
Earlier this month, President Joe Biden announced a sweeping plan that would mandate workers at companies with 100 or more employees to either submit to weekly COVID-19 testing or get vaccinated. The plan also mandates vaccinations for healthcare workers at Medicaid- or Medicare-funded facilities, as well as mandatory vaccines for federal contractors and federal employees.
Biden’s plan also entailed offering booster shots of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine by Sept. 20, although those plans hit a snag last week when the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) advisory panel recommended against providing Pfizer’s booster to the general population. Instead, the panel voted to recommend booster doses for individuals aged 65 and older.
Some scientists in the FDA advisory committee meeting last week expressed concern about possible side effects from the boosters on younger Americans.