An inmate in a cell at the Port-of-Spain Prison on Frederick Street.

Fewer than a dozen inmates at the remand section of the Port-of-Spain prison have contracted chicken pox.

This was confirmed on Wednesday by Prisons Commissioner Dennis Pulchan who refuted reports of an outbreak as the infected inmates have since been isolated and are receiving treatment.

Guardian Media was informed that inmates became concerned that, in addition to the spread of COVID-19, they now had to deal with another highly contagious infection.

The Prisons Commissioner said it was not uncommon for viruses, such as chicken pox to emerge in the prisons population.

He said, “What is happening at the Port-of-Spain prison is we have nine confirmed cases of chickenpox and 24 persons were quarantined. The prison medical officers are seeing these people daily, medication is being dispensed, but these are normal sicknesses that you don’t really send people to the hospital for.”

Meanwhile, Pulchan said he was still not satisfied with the rate at which prisoners were volunteering to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to him, jabs have been allocated to cover the entire prisons population, however interest among inmates appears to have flattened despite two recent COVID-19 related deaths.

“We recently had two deaths, and we are continuously trying to sensitise the inmates. We went to Carrera and only nine inmates took the vaccine and we have vaccines for all of them. Right now I’m facing a situation where up to last night I had a total of up to 63 inmates, who in the last two weeks, have contracted the COVID-19 virus and I had to move them off the island and place them elsewhere.”

The Prisons Commissioner said currently an estimated 400 inmates out of the over 3,600 prisons population have so far been inoculated.