Massachusetts inmates will be some of the first to get the coronavirus vaccines after health care workers, emergency medical workers, and residents of long-term care facilities get vaccinated.

According to a news report from Western Mass News, tens of thousands of inmates will be offered the shots ahead of home health aides, seniors, and medically vulnerable residents, joining people who live in homeless shelters and other congregate settings who will be vaccinated by the end of February, The New York Times reported.

Dr. Simone Wildes, a member of the state’s Covid-19 vaccine advisory group, said,"We have had a lot of cases of COVID in the prisons, and we wanted to make sure those at highest risk were getting the vaccine first.”

Prisons have had some of the country's biggest coronavirus outbreaks. More than one in 10 inmates around the country is over age 55 and therefore more vulnerable to the virus, according to one of the co-founders of the COVID Prison Project.

The New York Times also reported that inmates also have higher rates of chronic medical conditions that increase the risk of severe illness if they become infected.

Dr. Wildes went on to say, "Those at greatest need — we have to take care of them. You can’t socially distance in prison.”

More information and data can be found by checking out the initial story at Western Mass News' website here.

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