State Policies Differ On Inmate Eligibility For H1N1 Vaccine


Should prison and jail inmates get priority status for getting the H1N1 vaccine? The Christian Science Monitor says a cohesive national strategy seems lacking. Local health departments are deferring to federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for establishing high-priority groups. CDC says vaccination planning is a state issue.

Many states, including Massachusetts and Ohio, are prioritizing those at high risk in the general population over those in prison. The Texas Department of State Health Services says it will vaccinate all high-risk individuals at the same time, regardless of whether or not they’re incarcerated. The idea that high-risk people inside prisons would be treated differently from those outside is “invidious and discriminatory,” says Nancy Stoller of the American Public Health Association’s jail and prison health group. Incarcerated individuals are at a higher risk for H1N1 than the general population, she says, and should receive vaccination priority.

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