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Commentary

Framers of Vaccine Rollout Prioritize Criminals in Same Phase as Nursing Home Residents

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Now that President Donald Trump’s administration, through Operation Warp Speed, has made the impossible possible with the development of a coronavirus vaccine, many of those who doubted a vaccine would be an option suddenly have much to say about who should receive the first doses.

It would seem a no-brainer that elderly and immunocompromised Americans should receive the first rounds of vaccines being distributed by Pfizer-BioNTech and now Moderna. But in the last week or so, we’ve seen some people go as far as to argue that minority Americans, even those who are perfectly healthy, should be prioritized over seniors, especially those who are white.

We truly live in a sick world filled with morally corrupt people whose condition can’t be treated by any vaccine. Some of those people would like to see prison inmates receive doses of the coronavirus vaccine before or at the same time as isolated and older Americans in nursing homes — thanks, in part, to the private nonprofit body of so-called experts known as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

The National Academies recently released guidance over where vaccines, which are in short supply, should go as they are sent out across the country.

Its recommendations are being taken seriously, seeing as the organization has a reputation that is respected by academics and government officials. Founded in 1863, the National Academy of Sciences at one point had the ear of President Abraham Lincoln.

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But the phased guide released by its experts places those imprisoned for crimes in the same pecking order as those who might be frail and dependent on isolation to remain healthy.

Phase 1a recommends vaccinating front-line health care workers in hospitals, nursing homes and in-home settings. That makes sense: If a nursing home nurse, therapist, doctor or other staff member is carrying the coronavirus, he or she could pass it on to an elderly patient.

But Phase 1b is a real doozy, lumping seniors in nursing homes with people who could be killers and rapists.

“Also included in this phase are older adults (age 65 and over) living in congregate or overcrowded settings including nursing homes, long-term care facilities, homeless shelters, group homes, prisons, or jails,” the guidance says. “This group faces the joint risk factors of severe disease and reduced resilience associated with advanced age and of acquisition and transmission due to their living settings, in which they have limited opportunity to follow public health measures such as maintaining physical distance.”

Do you think prison inmates should be vaccinated at the same time as other potentially vulnerable Americans?

The National Academies does not recommend vaccinating all adults age 65 and older until Phase 2, despite conceding that population accounts for “approximately 80 percent of reported deaths related to COVID-19.”

That would mean that a grandmother or grandfather somewhere sitting at home afraid to venture out would be relegated to waiting for a vaccine, while Joseph Deangelo, the “Golden State Killer,” could be vaccinated first.

It might be easy to brush off the recommendations of the National Academies as a crackpot plan laid out by leftists or those who otherwise are led by advocating for social justice. But the recommendations are being taken quite seriously.

In Ohio, for example, the state is following them closely, as was outlined in a column published Monday by The Columbus Dispatch.

“Ohio modeled its plan on the framework from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine,” wrote guest columnist Elizabeth Lanphier, an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati “with research focusing on issues in moral philosophy and bioethics,” according to her bio.

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“Following this framework, Ohio places incarcerated individuals and staff working in prisons and jails in Phase 2, along with teachers, essential workers, persons living in group homes and homeless shelters and all older adults,” she wrote.

Lanphier argued in her column that prisoners should move closer to the top of the list. Perhaps she’s never had to visit someone from outside of a window whose only crime was being dependent on others for care.

A killer, rapist or other incarcerated criminal, no matter his age, should have no business receiving a potentially lifesaving vaccine before other adults who have spent almost the entirety of one of their golden years isolated from the world.

Although redeemable through Christ, a 75-year-old convicted violent felon shouldn’t be in line in front of those who’ve attempted to lead exemplary lives, no matter what the “experts” say. If 2020 has shown as anything, it’s that so-called experts are often wrong.

Vaccinate the elderly, the frail and all those who have paid their dues to society first. Let the bank robbers, the murderers and the sexually depraved receive their shots at the same time as the “experts” and members of Congress, which should be last.

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Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor and a producer in radio, television and digital media. He is a proud husband and father.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.




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