Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare Mansukh Mandaviya, in a response given in the Lok Sabha on August 6, 2021, claimed only two doses of vaccine had been administered to inmates in Delhi jails till August 4, 2021.
This was part of a state-wise list of COVID-19 vaccination status of prisoners. Mandaviya, in the response, also said COVID-19 vaccination of prisoners is recorded under the vaccination of 'Persons without Prescribed Identity Cards'.
But, data received in response to a Right to Information (RTI) query filed by FactChecker and that shared by Sandeep Goel, Director General of Delhi Prisons, proved Mandaviya's claim false.
FactChecker had filed an RTI application on April 10, 2021 Delhi's Department of Home on the COVID-19 infection and vaccination status of prisoners and prison staff across Delhi. This was further transferred to the Office of the Director General of Prisons (Prison Headquarters) in Janak Puri.
Delhi prisons consists of three prison complexes: Tihar Prison Complex comprising nine central prisons, a central prison at Rohini Prison Complex and Mandoli Prison Complex with six central jails. Of these 16, FactChecker received data via RTI for 13: seven in Tihar, Rohini Prison Complex and five in Mandoli for the period of May-July 2021.
According to official data, the total number of inmates in these 16 prisons is 15,468 against the sanctioned capacity of 10,026. On collating all RTI responses, FactChecker found that a total of 641 inmates and 844 prison staff were vaccinated with the first dose till April 10, 2021 across Delhi prisons. Of these, 281 inmates were inoculated in Tihar, 112 in Rohini Prison Complex and 248 in Mandoli.
For more updated data, FactChecker spoke to Goel. He shared a list of the number of inmates vaccinated in all three prisons in Delhi. "A total of 10,885 Covid vaccine doses (10,068 first doses and 817 second doses) have been administered to inmates in Delhi presently," Goel told FactChecker on August 20, 2021. This means 70% of the inmates in Delhi have received at least one dose.
According to the data he shared, 7,398 inmates have received COVID-19 vaccine jabs. Of these, 476 above 45 years and 120 below 45 have received both doses. In Rohini Prison Complex, a total of 772 inmates have got at least one dose and in Mandoli Prison Complex 2,715, according to data shared by Goel.
When asked about the total COVID-19 infections in these prisons, he said that 383 inmates were infected and eight COVID-19 deaths had occurred since March 2021. Whereas, 225 prison staff were infected by the virus and none of them died.
FactChecker tried contacting Mansukh Mandaviya via phone calls and email for clarification but had not received a response by the time of publishing this article. The story will be updated as and when we get a response.
Mandaviya, in the Lok Sabha response, said all inmates will be vaccinated by December 2021. "It is expected that eligible beneficiaries aged 18 years and above, including prisoners, will be vaccinated by December 2021," read the LS response.