Victory! Incarcerated People will be Among First to Receive the COVID-19 Vaccine
On December 31st, the Illinois Department of Public Health released an updated COVID-19 Vaccination Plan, which prioritizes person aged 75 years and older, frontline essential workers, sheltered populations, homeless/day programs, and incarcerated people.
The victory was announced after more than 60 advocacy and community organizations, university affiliates, and faith-based groups sent a letter to the Illinois Department of Public Health on December 21st requesting that the state prioritize incarcerated people in its COVID-19 vaccination rollout plan. The letter outlined the importance of priority vaccine access to protect the uniquely vulnerable people in custodial setting, including the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC), Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ), county jails and juvenile detention centers (including those detained as part of immigration proceedings), the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center, locked treatment and detention facilities, and developmental and mental health centers operated by the state and associated staff.
This advocacy win will hopefully prevent more unnecessary loss of life in jails and prisons across the state of Illinois and could not have happened without robust community support and action. You can read the letter and a full list of endorsing organizations here.