Tennessee Faces Dilemma In Efforts To Immunize Prisoners

Tennessee Faces Dilemma In Efforts To Immunize Prisoners

A debate has been going on in the state of Tennessee regarding whether to vaccinate the residents of the prisons. 

The prison inmates ate at a higher risk and an advisory panel of the state acknowledges as well. However, the panel also concluded that prioritizing these people in the process and administering the vaccine could bring a public relations nightmare. 

Tennessee Faces Dilemma In Efforts To Immunize Prisoners

The Pandemic Vaccine Planning Stakeholder group said that the prisoners in various parts of the state have been considered as a vector in the transmission of the coronavirus if left untreated. But, they come last on the priority list to get immunized in the state. Besides, there has not been a proper schedule for the prisoners to be included in the process of vaccine rollouts. 

Tennessee Faces Dilemma In Efforts To Immunize Prisoners

The debate reflects a huge issue in the state regarding the distribution of the most essential commodity in the current world, the vaccine. The dilemma stands on whether to prioritize a population that is separate from the public or to consider them as the worst as undeserving. 

There had been several warnings from health experts in the country since the outbreak of the pandemic on the risk factors existing among the prisoners. 

The experts said that the conditions in which the prisoners live are congested, so they ate at higher risk of transmission. They also have the least possibility to keep proper social distancing and most of the prisons are crowded with inmates. 

Despite the threat of extremely close contact between the residents, the efforts to prioritize them for vaccination campaigns are being resisted widely. 

Jeannie Alexander, executive director of the No Exceptions Prison Collective, a Nashville-based grassroots organization, said that the resistance clearly shows a lack of morality as well as empathy to let someone die or expose them to a greater risk just because they happen to be imprisoned. 

She added that before they got to prison, they were somebody’s child, mother, brother, father, or sister first. Still, they remain so and they also have the rights to be considered, cared for, and seen as such. 

Before a couple of months, there had been a great surge in figures for COVID-19. During which, as the figures were at the peak, the daily rates of infections were higher among the prisoners as well. 

According to the cumulative rates of COVID-19 transmission among the prisoners which was conducted by The Associated Press and The Marshall Project, it is evident. Their analysis showed that by the middle of last December, inhabitants in 1 among the 5 state and federal prisons were tested positive for the coronavirus. 

The analysis showed that this is far higher than the general population, i.e., more than four times. Since then the cases have shown a slight decline, but still far higher than the general population. 

The state of Tennessee is in the 24th position with the cases of COVID-19 among prisoners. Until the present, 38,800 and above in total have fallen ill with the coronavirus within a year of the pandemic. This number shows a horrifying rate of 1 in 3 prison inmates. The total number of deaths among the prisoners due to this plight hits at 40 right now. 

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