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Prisons are Covid-19 hotbeds. When should prisoners get vaccinated?

The United States holds some 2.3 million people in jails, prisons and other detention centers, incarcerating more people per capita than any other country. This includes nearly 500,000 people who have not been convicted of a crime and are awaiting trial, according to the Prison Policy Initiative. (Some prisons have taken steps to reduce overcrowding since the start of the pandemic.)

This figure also includes some 44,000 young people detained in institutions for minors and around 42,000 in detention centers for migrants.

Those detained are particularly vulnerable to the virus. People in prison are four times more likely to be infected than people in the general population, according to a study by the Criminal Justice Commission. Overall, Covid-19 death rates among inmates are higher than among the general population.

So far, at least 200,000 inmates have already been infected with Covid-19, and at least 1,450 inmates and correctional officers have died from the virus, according to a database maintained by the New York Times.

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These numbers likely underestimate the scale of the problem, as reporting requirements are uneven and vary from state to state, said Dr Tom Inglesby, infectious disease expert at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and another co-author of the vaccine. allocation report.

In Connecticut, doctors tested more than 10,000 prisoners in state prisons and prisons from March through June and found that 13% were infected with the coronavirus, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Inmates who lived in dormitories were most at risk. Older inmates and Latino inmates were also more likely than others to be infected.

Even before the pandemic, many older inmates were in poor health after decades of “hard living,” said Dr. Charles Lee, president-elect of the American College of Correctional Physicians.

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