Dec 24, 2020

By Jeremy Logan

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Advocates say inmates should have speedy access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Several prisons and jails in Canada have seen major outbreaks of the virus.

About a quarter of federal inmates are over the age of 50, according to the Office of the Correctional Investigator.

And prisoners tend to have a higher prevalence of chronic health issues than the general population.

Priority groups such as seniors in long-term care and health-care workers have started receiving their first doses.

But it’s not clear yet which other at-risk groups will be next in line.

Martha Paynter is a registered nurse in Nova Scotia who provides reproductive health care to inmates.

She says that group should be a priority to receive the vaccine, but many don’t trust the health care system behind bars and may decline.

University of Toronto bioethicist Kerry Bowman says there’s no question prisoners should be a priority group to receive the vaccine both from a scientific and ethical perspective.

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