Inmate vaccinations: How South Dakota stacks up Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Department of Corrections stated Friday that 67% of it’s 3,231 inmates have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This means that the state has at least partially vaccinated at least 2,164 inmates who are in its care.

KELOLAND News finds that these numbers, obtained after the submission of a FOIA request, put the state on-par with some of it’s neighbors. In fact, in terms of percentage of inmates who have received at least one dose, South Dakota’s 67% beats out both North Dakota (64.57%) and Minnesota (54.2%).

While the information from the South Dakota DOC includes only the total percentage of inmates who have received at least one dose, the departments within both Minnesota and North Dakota have made a wider range of data available to the public.

North Dakota

According to its website, the North Dakota Dept. of Corrections holds a total of adult 1,527 inmates. Of these inmates 986 (64.57%) have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.*

The North Dakota DOC also provides statistics on vaccine series completion. Out of the 986 inmates who have received at least one dose, 957 of them also completed their vaccine series.*

These 957 inmates represent 62.67% of their total adult inmate population.


The Minnesota Department of Corrections reports that they house a total of 7,593 adult inmates.**

Of these inmates, the department says that 4,116 have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, accounting for 54.2% of the total adult inmate population.*

4,034 of those 4,116 inmates have completed their vaccine series, accounting for 53.13% of the total adult inmate population.*

Unlike the Dakotas, the MN DOC website also lists numbers for staff vaccinations, showing that 1,832 correctional staff members have received at least one dose, and 1,786 have completed their vaccine series.*

* Including single dose vaccines such as Johnson & Johnson.

** As of January, 2021.

While South Dakota leads both North Dakota and Minnesota in first-dose vaccinations, it also leads in another area; inmates per capita.

According to the US Census Bureau, South Dakota’s population estimate as of July 2019 is 884,659, while North Dakota comes in at 762,062, and Minnesota tallies 5,639,632. Using these population estimates, along with the most recent inmate totals provided by the states, we have compiled the following:

  • South Dakota – 368.7 inmates/100,000 residents
  • North Dakota – 200.4 inmates/100,000 residents
  • Minnesota – 134.6 inmates/100,000 residents

Neither Nebraska or Iowa currently show inmate vaccination statistics on their Dept. of Corrections websites. KELOLAND News has reached out to both departments for numbers, but has not yet received a response.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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