Public health authorities in Maine said Wednesday it’s impossible to know when coronavirus vaccines could reach inmates in the state’s prisons and jails because of the limited supply of the vaccine.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine has called on the state to prioritize prisons, jails and detention facilities in its vaccine plans. Inmates “live in crowded facilities where social distancing is not possible,” said Meagan Sway, ACLU Maine’s policy director.
Maine is in the midst of rolling out coronavirus vaccines to front-line health workers and residents of long-term care facilities. The state has vaccinated more than 8,000 people so far, but supply constraints make it difficult to plan too far into the future, said Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC.
“There is much much more need for vaccine in Maine than there is vaccine in Maine,” Shah said. “We are concerned about any individual who lives in a carceral setting because COVID-19 has spread within them.”
Jails and prisons have been the site of coronavirus outbreaks in Maine. One, at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham, sickened dozens of inmates.