Among those first in line for the COVID-19 vaccine in Massachusetts are correction workers and the nearly 13,000 people incarcerated in jails and prisons in the state. The news comes as COVID cases continue to spike behind bars.
Gov. Charlie Baker included both groups in the first phase of his COVID vaccination plan, which he announced last week. The first phase also includes health care workers, police, fire and emergency responders and residents of long term care facilities and those living and working in homeless shelters. Massachusetts is one of six states to specifically include prisoners in the first phase of vaccinations, according to the Prison Policy Initiative.
The Department of Correction referred questions about the vaccine process to the state’s COVID-19 Response Command Center. It says those working and living in congregate care settings, like homeless shelters and correctional facilities, are prioritized for phase one because of the high-risk, high-exposure setting. The state estimates that 22,000 vaccines will be needed for those living and working in correctional facilities, and officials expect the vaccines to be distributed between December and February. Details about how the vaccines will be given behind bars will be clearer once the state receives vaccine shipments.