NEW DELHI: The Delhi Prisons Department has written to the city government's Home Department, urging it to start vaccination of inmates in the 18 to 45 age group, officials said on Thursday.
A senior official said that the vaccination process for inmates over 45 years is already going on in the jail premises.
Director General (Prisons) Sandeep Goel said that almost half of the inmates aged more than 45 years have been vaccinated.
"We have done 1,300 vaccinations so far. All of inmates are above 45 years of age. We are yet to start vaccination of remaining inmates between 18 to 45 age group. We have written to the Delhi government for permission."
"In Tihar, 920 inmates, 112 inmates in Rohini and 219 in Mandoli have received their first jab of the vaccine. Besides, 49 inmates in Tihar have received their second dose of the vaccine," Goel said.
The government allowed vaccination for everyone above the age of 18 from May 1.
On Wednesday, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia announced that people under the age of 45 will not be able to get Covaxin shots from Thursday, saying its manufacturer Bharat Biotech has refused to provide "additional" vaccine doses to the city government.
The jail officials said that the process of decongestion of prisons has also been initiated.
On Thursday, the process of releasing 1,133 undertrial prisoners, who were released from the jails last year and returned on time, has started and they will be released on interim bail soon.
Fresh applications of around 2,500 undertrials eligible for interim bail have started to moving to the respective courts, they said.
On the other hand, the city government's decision to release around 1,000 convicts on emergency parole, who were released last year, is still awaited, officials said.
"There are more than 19,500 inmates in the three jails. Of them, around 2,500 inmates are above 45 years. The prisons need more than 16,000 vaccines for the inmates who are between the age group of 18 to 45," the officials said.
The vaccination drive for the inmates started on March 18.
According to data shared by the Prisons Department, 371 fresh cases of coronavirus have been reported among the inmates since March, 2021.
Of them, 269 have recovered and there are 96 active cases.
Six inmates died of COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021.
Similarly, 205 staff members have tested positive for the virus since March, 2021.
Of them, 124 have recovered and 81 are still under treatment, the data said.
In view of the spiralling coronavirus cases in the national capital, the officials had said they are taking several measures to ensure that the infection does not spread inside the prisons.
Inmates are no longer allowed to gather inside the library or for music and sports activities.
The jails have been divided into several wards and movement of inmates cannot move between these wards, the officials had said.
"We have sensitised the inmates about the virus and they have been told to maintain social distancing norms," they had said.
The first coronavirus case was reported in Rohini Jail on May 13, 2020.