An immunisation drive within prison facilities is in full swing with a large number of inmates receiving Covid-19 vaccines.

This was revealed by the country’s main human rights watchdog, whose members made a surprise visit last week to the Reformation and Rehabilitation Centre in Jaw.

The National Institution for Human Rights (NIHR) chairwoman Maria Khoury yesterday praised the vaccination drive, further revealing that a majority of the inmates who received the free vaccine of their choice were aged between 32 to 39.

“The Covid-19 vaccination process is being conducted at all prison facilities, including the women’s prison in Isa Town, in the same uniformed manner,” said Ms Khoury.

“Inmates can voluntarily register their personal details and select the vaccine of their choice, following which a health care professional administers the jab at the facility.”

She said a majority of those who were vaccinated were Bahrainis, but added that expatriate inmates were also increasingly signing up.

“There is a proper health set up at these facilities as part of co-operation between the Health and the Interior ministries.”

“The prisoners’ top vaccine of choice is Sinopharm followed by Oxford-AstraZeneca and Sputnik V,” added Ms Khoury.

“Bahrain is among the top countries with its high Covid-19 vaccination rate, and this initiative of covering inmates allows them to join the rest of the nation in the fight against the pandemic.

“We will continue to monitor the Covid-19 vaccination drive across all prison and detention facilities.”

The NIHR chairwoman further stated they received positive feedback to the Covid-19 vaccination process during their random visit last week.

“The success of this ongoing Covid-19 vaccination drive in Bahrain debunks reports and statements made by some individuals, who claim that prisoners are denied the vaccine,” she added.

“Some even claim that inmates were not informed about the possible side-effects of the vaccines and continue to spread false reports, while the truth is that reactions are quite encouraging on the ground.”

Based on rough estimates from previous official reports, there are more than 100 inmates with majority being expats at the Women’s Reformation and Rehabilitation Prison and around 2,400 inmates at the Jaw prison.

Latest data revealed that up until the weekend a total of 307,145 individuals had received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, and 199,374 had so far received the second.

The Interior Ministry last month announced that Covid-19 jabs was administered to inmates according to a specific schedule to meet human rights values and standards.

In addition, a field hospital was allocated and quarantine implemented for new inmates, in addition to redistributing inmates and providing new buildings.

A 45-year-old man, who was jailed in Jaw prison over a dud cheque case, tested positive for the virus last month and authorities took all precautionary measures.

Citizens and expats can contact the NIHR via its various communication channels: The hotline (80001144), the mobile app NIHR Bahrain or the NIHR website (

The rights watchdog was formed in 2009 and last year registered 55 complaints and 589 requests for assistance from citizens and expatriates.

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