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Oregon Women’s Prison Adopts New Vaccination Practices For Upcoming Flu Season

The prison has a new message: "Health Services cares about you staying healthy and recommends getting the flu vaccine annually.”

The Oregon women's prison has adopted substantial reforms to its vaccination practices after a flu outbreak last year killed an inmate and revealed deficiencies in the institution's medical practices.

WW first reported the death of Tina Ferri in March, after investigating the influenza outbreak at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility ("A Bug in the System," WW, March 21, 2018). The Oregon Department of Corrections did not publicly disclose Ferri's death until after WW's inquiries and failed to follow the agency's own protocols to adequately inform women housed in Coffee Creek that they could get a flu shot.

This year, following WW's reporting, Coffee Creek is taking steps to better inform inmates about the flu vaccine.

A new "cold and flu" bulletin board includes posters about preventing and treating flu. Every housing unit has a letter posted explaining the benefits of the vaccine. And blurbs in the prison's biweekly newsletter, Coffee Talk, provide clear instructions to women who want to be vaccinated.

"Health Services cares about you staying healthy and recommends getting the flu vaccine annually," letters posted in every housing unit advise.

Similar steps have been taken at the men's prisons, a state spokeswoman says.