With the majority of corrections officers declining the COVID-19 vaccine, incarcerated people are still at serious risk

Mon, April 26, 2021 5:07 PM | Marsha Grant (Administrator)

Low rates of vaccine uptake among correctional staff make it clear that withholding the vaccine from people who are locked up -- or offering it only to a small fraction of the prison population -- is senseless.

by Wanda Bertram and Wendy Sawyer, April 22, 2021

Correctional staff in most states have been eligible for COVID-19 vaccination for months, prioritized ahead of many other groups because of the key role staff play in introducing the virus into prisons and jails and then bringing it back out to surrounding communities. Against the recommendations of medical experts, many states chose to vaccinate correctional staff before incarcerated people, often claiming that staff would serve as a barrier against the virus entering prisons and infecting people who are locked up. Now it’s becoming clearer than ever that this policy choice was a gigantic mistake: New data suggests that most prison staff have refused to be vaccinated, leaving vast numbers of incarcerated people — who have been denied the choice to protect themselves — at unnecessary risk.

#vaccinerefusals 

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