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As States Expand Vaccines, Prisoners Still Lack Access

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Carrie Shipp shows a photo of her incarcerated 21-year-old son Matthew Shipp that she keep on her cell phone Friday, April 2, 2021, in Irving, Texas. Fewer than 20 percent of state and federal prisoners have received a COVID-19 vaccine, according to data collected by The Marshall Project and The Associated Press. Carrie Shipp said her son decided not to get vaccinated out of fear and distrust of prison medical staff. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

(AP)–Vaccinating most Americans is plenty tough — and it’s worse if you’re in prison. Roughly half the country has opened up coronavirus vaccine eligibility beyond initial restrictions, vastly expanding the ability for most people to get a shot in the arm. But inside prisons, it’s a different story.

Prisoners are not free to seek out vaccines and still on the whole lack access. Data collected by The Marshall Project and The Associated Press show fewer than 20% of state and federal prisoners have been vaccinated. In some states, prisoners and advocates have resorted to lawsuits to get access.

 

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