Prisoners need a vaccine too
Governor Andrew Cuomo received two letters, the first from the Legal Aid Society, Brooklyn Defender Services, New York County Defender Services and other pro bono legal aid organisations and the second signed by 120 leaders of various religious communities.
Both appeals speak about one thing the need to ensure that New Yorkers in correctional facilities are vaccinated, the denial of which is a threat to overall health security, a violation of human rights and can become a cause of action.
According to a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections, immunisations for employees could begin within the time frame outlined in Cuomo's January 11 executive order, and the conditions for inmates to participate in the programme have yet to be determined in conjunction with the Health Department. For now, inmates, suspects and prison staff are regularly tested.
Statistics show that of the nearly 33,500 people behind bars, 4,822 have tested positive for COVID-19 and 3,984 have recovered and come out of quarantine. Still, medics and criminologists agree that prisons are a risk zone where the infection spreads very quickly. Nevertheless, the death rate has been low so far, with 30 inmates and seven staff dying of coronavirus in the state's prisons during the entire epidemic.