All inmates should not be priority for vaccine

Forcing people into categories that may not fit them well is foolish under any circumstances. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine should not permit it to become a deadly mistake.

Like other states, Ohio has a priority list for immunizations by the still relatively scarce COVID-19 vaccine. Health care providers and older people, especially those in long-term care facilities, are at the top of the list. Inmates at jails and prisons are not as high on it.

DeWine has been asked by the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio to include inmates in the same vaccine category as people in other group-living arrangements, such as nursing homes.

DeWine should not do that — at least not in a blanket manner.

Some jail and prison inmates, such as older men and women and others with medical conditions that make them especially vulnerable to COVID-19, ought to be high on the vaccine priority list. We know incarceration makes it more likely they will pick up the virus.

But including all jail and prison inmates, even young, healthy men and women, as high priority makes no sense. The only categorizing DeWine should do is trying to protect those most at risk from the virus and those such as health care workers whose services are most in need to fight COVID-19.


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