Tens of thousands of prison inmates in Massachusetts will be among the first to be offered coronavirus vaccines, before home health aides, seniors and medically vulnerable residents of the state.
The inmates, along with people who live in homeless shelters and other congregate settings, will be vaccinated by the end of February, after health care workers, emergency medical workers and residents of long-term care facilities receive the shots.
The state’s high prioritization of inmates is unusual. A dozen states have listed prisoners among those set to receive vaccines in the first round of inoculations, but none ranks inmates so highly. Federal health officials have recommended that corrections officers and staff at state facilities receive high priority but have said nothing about inmates. The federal prison system has said it will vaccinate officers and staff first.