The first 40 federal prisoners to be vaccinated against the corona virus novel in Canada have been vaccinated inside the facility without any active charges, Global News reported.
While many prisons have seen the eruption, it has led to conditions arguing that it is inhumane, while others wonder why correctional officers have not been given priority.
The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) launched a vaccine pilot program for prisons on Friday, with four federal agencies administering 1,200 doses of Moderna vaccine in the coming days – eventually enough to vaccinate 600 inmates.
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One of those facilities, the Drummond Company in Drummondville, Que, has not seen any COVID-19 cases since the outbreak, and 19 cases have already been recovered. Vaccine levels were also delivered this week to the Regional Treatment Center in Ond Millhaven; Springhill Company in Nova Scotia; And Saskatoon, the regional mental health center in Saskatchewan, none of which have seen an epidemic to date.
The CSC said that facilities have been selected for early stage vaccinations because they are the home of prisoners who are considered to be the priority to get vaccinated – i.e. the elderly and the medically vulnerable.
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But it did not sit well with Sherry Meyer, a prison lawyer who has a loved one serving a life sentence in Saskatchewan prison. The prison is currently fighting the country’s largest COVID-19 outbreak, with 72 active cases pending as of Thursday.
Due to the lack of vaccine, the inmates there are confined to their cells for 23 and a half hours a day.
“Some guys call it a‘ bird bath, ’as they call it, so they can call their family instead of showering in their cells,” he told Global News. “This is inhumane.”
Prisons in Manitoba, Alberta and Ontario are also currently experiencing eruptions that have erupted in facilities in those provinces and in epidemics among others. To date, three prisoners have died and nearly 1,200 have been injured.
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The CSC said the vaccines would be distributed to other facilities “soon”, but could not say exactly when those distributions would be made.
The mayor and other lawyers have pointed out that prisoners are particularly vulnerable to the fast-spreading virus such as COVID-19, and have been calling for months to prioritize vaccination regardless of age or condition.
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“They are still people, they have more rights, they still deserve to be protected there,” the mayor said. “Because they are in such a limited space, they are more vulnerable than most people.”
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Should prisoners be given priority?
The CSC and other government officials defended the prison vaccination program and said they would follow the advice Divided by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization It says priority should be given to the elderly and those with basic medical conditions.
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“If any of our federal agencies fall seriously ill, they will not receive treatment within the agency,” Public Security Minister Bill Blair explained at a news conference Wednesday. “They take an ICU bed at a hospital in the local community.
“Therefore, it is important that we deal with those individuals at the greatest risk of getting COVID and the consequent risk of serious health problems.”
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The advisory board has identified congregation habitats for the corona virus, including prisons and long-term care homes.
But Conservative politicians have spoken out against giving priority to prisoners. Opposition Leader Erin O’Toole Wrote on Twitter Tuesday: “An offender should not be vaccinated in front of any vulnerable Canadian or leading health care workers.”
Ontario Premier Duck Ford said Wednesday when he heard about the plan that he “could not believe it” and urged the federal government to “stop it”.
“Do not give it to our long-term care patients, the most vulnerable and other elderly people before vaccinating the most dangerous criminals in our country,” he told reporters.
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Blair commented on O’Toole and Ford’s comments, “Obviously, the language of resentment and fear has no place in this debate.”
Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs told Global News on Friday that he was only concerned that his detainees would lose size if vulnerable people such as long-term caregivers and health workers were given more priority.
“In the reality of limited supply and scarcity supply, we are saying that those people should be put forward rather than prisoners enjoying imprisonment,” he said.
More than 261,000 Canadians have received the first dose of the vaccine COVID-19 Tracker Canada, Takes its data from government sources. The site claims that this figure represents less than half of the 545,000 quantities issued to date.
Elderly and at-risk inmates are due to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Friday
What about editing officers?
Stubbs said that if prisoners were to continue to be vaccinated, “at the very least” the program would require officers and staff to be at the front of the line.
But the CSC said it would be up to the provinces to decide how to prioritize those employees, “like all health services.”
“We are working closely with the provinces to identify our health care and leading staff to prioritize, and some health workers have already been vaccinated,” a spokesman said.
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Jeff Wilkins, president of the Canadian Correctional Officers’ Union, said this did not make sense.
“We don’t want to believe what different provinces are doing,” he said. “We are federal employees and the federal government should be watching over us.
“It’s something our members are begging for now.”
The union is in the past Complaint About the miscommunication from the CSC and the slow release of personal protective equipment to its members in the spring, the virus entered several federal and provincial prisons. The CSC has denied the union’s allegations.
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Now that a vaccine has arrived, Wilkins says his members are backing down.
“They do not understand that our members are exposed to this disease every day and they are not provided with adequate protection,” he said.
“Everyone can be vaccinated in institutions quickly, prisoners will be added, and we will be.”
On Wednesday, Blair said he understood the union’s concerns and would give priority to “corrective action”, but those with “serious” needs would still be on the line – including prisoners.
“It is our duty to ensure that our detainees are treated fairly and that they are kept safe,” he said. “I think it’s too much for the benefit of the correctional workers in those companies.”
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