Sacramento moves jail inmates to the front of the vaccination line

Are you a resident of Sacramento, California and either ineligible for a vaccination or having trouble getting an appointment to do so? Have you considered trying to get arrested? That might be your golden ticket because the city has now moved to prioritize the more than three thousand inmates in the jail system to get their jabs immediately. The decision was made in response to prisoners’ rights advocates who apparently have the ear of the City Council. Of course, if you do go that route, you’ll be stuck in a dank cell, potentially with a violent criminal cellmate, but at least you won’t catch COVID! (CBS Sacramento)

Sacramento County jail inmates may now move to the front of the COVID vaccine line.

The Sacramento County Jail system currently houses 3,300 inmates. The decision to vaccinate them comes after inmate activists called for safer COVID conditions in the jails following several outbreaks.

The move comes as many people living in Sacramento County are still not able to receive a vaccine.

Craig Allen is 62-years-old and fighting several medical conditions, a plight that’s put him in Sacramento County’s phase 1-C. He’s still unable to get a vaccine.

Here’s a brief report from the local CBS News outlet describing the decision.

On the one hand, it’s not as if I don’t understand the concerns being raised here. Prisoners are literally locked up with very little control over how many people they come in contact with. If conditions are crowded, that’s a lot of recirculated air to share and communal surfaces inmates are touching. If you have a serious outbreak in jail it’s going to be a problem.

But at the same time, the Sheriff’s Department has already granted early release to hundreds of non-violent and lower-risk offenders to create more space and reduce contamination risks. They’re pretty much down to the hardcore prisoners that simply cannot be safely put back out on the streets at this point. There was a fairly nasty outbreak back in January, but they seem to have gotten things mostly under control again.

No matter how sympathetic we might be to the situation, however, this still doesn’t address the underlying question. There are still a lot of people out there who didn’t break the law and weren’t sent to jail, some of whom are older and with underlying conditions, who are still not on the top priority list or who simply can’t manage to get an appointment. What about them?

That’s the case with Craig Allen, the gentleman interviewed by CBS for the linked report. He’s in his sixties (but not yet 65) with underlying respiratory issues. He’s being bumped even further down the waiting list while the city tries to vaccinate 3,300 inmates. Craig says he understands what the city is trying to do and he’s sympathetic, but he also thinks he deserves a chance before a prisoner.

The optics of all this are simply dismal. Perhaps Sacramento could compromise and try testing out that new J&J vaccine on the inmates. It only takes one jab instead of two and Dr. Fauci is positive that it’s just fine.