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Middlesex sheriff’s office prepares to begin COVID-19 vaccinations

Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian.
Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian.Josh Reynolds

The Middlesex sheriff’s office offered inmates at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction in Billerica a question-and-answer session with infectious disease specialists Tuesday, as officials prepare to begin COVID-19 vaccinations of incarcerated people later this week, authorities said.

Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian, Dr. Alysse Wurcel of Tufts Medical Center, and Dr. Kathryn Stephenson of Harvard University responded to questions about how quickly immunity begins after vaccination, the vaccine development timeline, and whether face masks are necessary after vaccination, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

Koutoujian said in the statement that the forums “were an incredible opportunity for some of those in our custody to ask the experts questions about the vaccine.”

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“It was abundantly clear from listening to the questions posed by the individuals that we met with today, that there is a great amount of interest in the vaccine,” he said. “And while some have already made the decision to be vaccinated, even more are open to doing so.”

The questions asked Tuesday will be combined with feedback from a survey earlier this month on inmate willingness to be vaccinated to build a list of frequently asked questions and an informational video for use in the jail, according to the statement.

About 40 percent of inmates surveyed said they wanted to be vaccinated, the sheriff’s office said. It has been almost four months since an inmate held by the Middlesex sheriff’s office has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the statement.


Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.