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The Washington State Department of Corrections (WDOC) is offering vaccinations to some people in its facilities. Currently, vaccinations are available to group 1A, which includes workers, elderly or high-risk people. Group 1B, which includes some other incarcerated people, began on Jan. 17.

There is a lot of talk, controversy and rumor around vaccines inside the facilities. 

WDOC is currently using the Moderna vaccine. We don’t get to choose which vaccine we want. The consensus from those who have received the first shot is that it makes you sick. People report uncomfortable symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and even swelling, redness, and pain at the injection site. 

There are reports that the second shot brings even worse symptoms. 

I conducted a survey of 100 people here at Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW) about who planned to get the vaccine. According to the results, 62 people said yes, they would get the vaccine, while 38 said they would decline to be vaccinated.

The majority of people who do not want the vaccine do not trust it and do not want to get sick. The majority of people who do want the vaccine say they want to protect themselves and their families. They want to end all the restrictions and for the state to open back up. 

We all want life to return to the way it was before, but we need to remember to be safe so once we get there, it stays that way.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Princess Zoee Andromeda-Love is a transgender writer incarcerated in Washington. She is a passionate advocate for the rights of prisoners and LGBTQIA+ individuals.