Bronx County Supreme Court Justice Alison Tuitt ordered the state to vaccinate all detainees who were excluded from the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Courthouse News reports that on February 4, two detainees in the jail complex at Rikers Island had filed a petition with support from a coalition of New York City public defenders and advocates. One petitioner said that he filed the petition, fearing the pandemic due to the jail's present conditions.
The 33-page petition states, "Jails and prisons have not only become hotbeds themselves but have fueled the spread of COVID-19 through the larger community." Prison Policy Initiative data shows New York had 77,000 people in prison in the state and local facilities. Maria Morris, the American Civil Liberties Union's National Prison Project's senior staff attorney, told Courthouse News, "People who are incarcerated are not a particularly popular group of people."
In February 2021, Oregon's federal magistrate judge had ordered to inoculate every inmate who intends to be vaccinated against the COVID-19. Following Justice Alison's order, New York would be the second state to vaccinate all prisoners.
The New York Times reports, Beth Garvey, acting counsel to the governor, said, "Our goal all along has been to implement a vaccination program that is fair and equitable, and these changes will help ensure that continues to happen." After the court's order and the state corrections officials announced that 65-year-old and above detainees would be given the jab.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19 including symptoms, prevention and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organisation or your national healthcare authority.