Bangkok, Thailand: Barefoot Thai inmates rolled up their sleeves, Friday, to receive coronavirus injections into their tattooed arms, as the monarchy attempts to contain a mass infection epidemic in its overcrowded prisons.
Authorities have been battling a recent viral outbreak in the prison system, where some convicts have less sleeping space than a coffin.
More than 35,000 positive instances have been reported within jails, and convicts have been encouraged to wear masks even when sleeping.
The government has started distributing 300,000 Sinopharm dosages across the kingdom’s prisons.
Inmates at Chonburi Central Prison, two hours southwest of Bangkok, waited in line for their vaccinations on Friday morning.
“Overcrowding in prisons is a factor making it difficult to prevent this kind of disease,” the institution’s director, Chan Vachiradath, told AFP.
He claimed his prison’s almost 6,300 inmates have remained coronavirus-free so far, but staff is on high alert.
Prior to vaccination, every prisoner had to undergo a swab test, and elderly convicts and those with underlying medical issues that made them more sensitive to severe virus cases were given priority.
According to estimates from the International Federation for Human Rights from earlier this year, Thailand has roughly 311,000 convicts, which is more than two and a half times the system’s statutory capacity.
Because of strong anti-narcotics legislation, four out of every five prisoners are doing time for drug offences. Offenders can be sentenced to a decade in prison for possessing just a few methamphetamine pills.