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Could inmates be next in line to receive COVID vaccine?

The CDC considers inmates to be a vulnerable population
Posted at 6:56 PM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-07 19:56:55-05

The Texas Department of State Health Services recently appointed an Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel to make recommendations to the State Commissioner of Health regarding the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

They are also tasked with determining which groups will receive priority.

The CDC does classify incarcerated and detained people as vulnerable populations as well as people 65 years and older, those with underlying health conditions, people attending college and universities, folks in rural areas and so many more.

The National Library of Medicine states that their dormitory living quarters can make basic hygiene hard to maintain.

The first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine could be here as early as next week.

Texas will be receiving over 200,000 doses that will be dispersed through the state according to their most recent plan, updated on December 4th.

The EVAP has health care workers at the top of the list who have the option to receive the vaccine.

In their first plan, Phase 1A, they break down who is considered a health care worker, with that description being broken down into 2 tiers.

As a health care worker herself, Amy Meservosky says medical workers play a vital role in caring for and preserving the lives of COVID-19 patients, but their lives must be protected too.

“We’ve got to keep our health care professionals healthy so that they can take care of everyone. We know that we’ve had hundreds and hundreds of healthcare providers get seriously ill and we’ve also know that we’ve had many die,” said Meservosky.

After health care workers are other front-line employees, followed by vulnerable populations.

Those are two very broad categories, but many have been questioning if inmates will be able to get the vaccine.

Major Ricky Armstrong, Jail Administrator for McLennan County says right now there isn’t a clear plan, but one is in the works.

“From my understanding the inmates are on the list of people to offer the vaccine to...I do not know the dates and where they fall in that process but yes they are," Armstrong said. "Since, it’s a large combined group of people they are in the process of getting vaccines to them as well.”

“The vaccine will be made available to them. We are still in discussions as to how that’s going to be put out," Armstrong said.

The American Medical Association says those who are detained are 5 ½ times more likely to contract COVID-19 than the general population.

No one was available for an interview from the Department of State Health Services but a representative says Phases 1b and 2 vaccine allocation plans are still being developed by EVAP, including vulnerable populations.