The Department of Prisons has finalised a plan to vaccinate for Covid-19 inmates in 68 jails in the country.
Convicts who are 40 years old or older would be vaccinated first.
Once all the convicts aged above 40 are vaccinated, people in jail who have not been convicted of any crime and are 40 or above would get the shots.
Brig Gen Md Mominur Rahman Mamun, inspector general of prisons, revealed the plan to The Daily Star yesterday.
"We were working to ensure vaccine in jails as per the policy enacted by the government … As part of continuous discussions, we held talks with the home ministry's senior secretary today [Thursday]," he said.
The home ministry asked for a finalised list of over 15,000 convicts, said the IG Prisons.
"After the list is prepared, we will try to ensure they [convicts] are vaccinated with priority. Besides, we are also trying to complete the registration of inmates who are 40 or above," he said.
There are 83,107 inmates and convicts in the 68 jails of the country, according to yesterday's tally. Among them, around 68,000 have not been convicted of any crimes.
Regarding vaccination of these inmates, Brig Gen Mamun said they would decide about them after giving shots to the convicts since those inmates could leave jail securing bail or getting acquitted.
He said that it did not mean those inmates would not get the jabs, rather they would get the shots in later phases.
Asked when the vaccination would start, the IG prisons said he had talked to the home ministry and now they would write to it regarding the matter.
"We will start ensuring the vaccine soon after the ministry responds. We are hopeful of starting the vaccination in jail within the next month," he added.
Sayed Belal Hossain, additional secretary (jail wing) of the home ministry, told The Daily Star yesterday that they have decided in principle to start vaccination in jails.
"We are hopeful of starting it soon," he added.
At least 18 convicts in Luxmipur jail, all above 55 years of age, were given the shots on February 9 following an initiative of the civil surgeon concerned.
The jail has 625 inmates, of whom 102 are convicts.
Md Shakhawat Hossain, jailer of Luxmipur jail, told The Daily Star yesterday that they completed Covid-19 vaccine registration of all inmates and convicts there.
"We will start giving the vaccine after the district civil surgeon approves," he said.
Shakhawat said the 18 convicts, who go the jabs, did not have any side effects. "Still, we have kept them under observation of the jail doctor and nurse," he said.
IG Prisons Brig Gen Mamun said that they are planning to give the shots at the medical centres inside jails bringing in trained nurses.
"If we fail to give vaccine inside the jail, then we would take the registered convicts and inmates to the government listed vaccine centres after corresponding with the civil surgeon and deputy commissioners," he said.
Meanwhile, two jail guards and a jail pharmacist are in isolation as they started showing Covid-19 symptom yesterday.
Yesterday, there were 38 people in quarantine in Dhaka Central Jail and five people in Chattogram jail.
Md Mojammel Khan, deputy jailer at the Department of Prisons, said Covid-19 could not affect the jails severely since they kept new arrivals on 14-day quarantine. Besides, meeting relatives has been suspended, he added.