State Dept. of Corrections begins vaccinating Pa. inmates


Secretary Wetzel clarified the reasoning behind vaccinating inmates

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Inmates in some of Pennsylvania’s prisons have begun to get the coronavirus vaccine.

At a House budget hearing on Wednesday, state Corrections Secretary John Wetzel said 800 inmates and staff at Lauren Highlands in Somerset County were vaccinated on Tuesday. Muncy, in Lycoming County, will get the shot on Thursday, and Waymart in Wayne County next week.

Those three prisons have elderly inmates who are in the 1A category, but at least one lawmaker questioned the state’s priorities.

“Rapists, murderers ahead of senior citizens in the general population, ahead of corrections officers or ahead of school teachers we need to get kids back in class?” Rep. Doyle Hefley (R-Carbon) asked.

Secretary Wetzel clarified the reasoning behind vaccinating inmates.

“The feds defined it as a long-term care facility therefore they’re 1A. This is a federal definition of what a long term care facility is,” Wetzel said.

Wetzel said staff and correctional officers at the three facilities with older inmates were vaccinated, as well.

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