A bill to require Oregon prisons to offer every inmate a flu shot would cost the Department of Corrections about $114,182 over two years, according to a fiscal impact statement drafted by the Legislative Fiscal Office.
Senate Bill 488, introduced by Sen. Sara Gelser, would require every prison inmate to meet with a doctor to discuss the influenza vaccine each year. Those inmates who decline the shot would have to opt out in writing.
The DOC estimates about half of Oregon inmates will choose to get the flu shot. At $17.63 per vaccine, the additional cost to the agency would be about $114,182 over two years, according to the fiscal analysis.
That's a modest cost compared to the Department of Corrections' $1.7 billion biannual budget, and bodes well for the bill's prospects.
"The Oregon Department of Corrections currently offers flu vaccinations to all men and women in our care and custody," says spokeswoman Jennifer Black. "Senate Bill 488 would change our vaccination delivery based on a voluntary, opt-in framework to an opt-out one. DOC's Health Services Unit is committed to providing appropriate health care for all of those who are incarcerated with DOC."
The bill comes just over a year after Tina Ferri, an inmate at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, died from complications after catching the flu in a severe outbreak in January, 2018. WW reported her undisclosed death and outbreak last March, and her family's ongoing wrongful death lawsuit in filed in December.