THOUGH VIRUS HAS TORN THROUGH CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES, MOST PRISON WORKERS ARE DECLINING VACCINES
Feb 14, 2021
The Boston Globe
By Laura Crimaldi
More than half of the employees in the Massachusetts Department of Correction have declined the state’s offer to get the COVID-19 vaccine at work, even as the virus has wreaked havoc across the prison system, infecting roughly 900 workers and killing 21 inmates.
The workers’ refusal stands in sharp contrast to the general population’s rush to get the vaccine, which so far has been restricted by the state to first responders, people in congregate settings, and those over the age of 75. Some people have waited hours in lines, crossed state borders for better chances, and delved into an emerging gray market in order to get access to the vaccine. But not prison workers.
“It’s so much lower than what we would want it to be,” said Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein, cofounder of The COVID Prison Project, a group of public-health scientists that compile and study virus data from correctional facilities. “It’s even more harmful given that they work in congregate settings where there are lots of people at disproportionate risk of suffering severely and dying of COVID.”
The state’s prison inmates have been significantly more open to the shot.About 69 percent of the roughly 6,200 inmates offered inoculation have received an initial dose of the Moderna vaccine, which the state began providing to most inmates and correctional workers on Jan. 18.