Prison guards decry immunizing inmates, but not staff, during outbreak

Northern State Correctional Facility, Newport – photo credit Newport Dispatch

By Guy Page

UPDATE 1:40 PM: Dept. of Corrections guards were informed today they will be vaccinated within the next 3-5 days.

Corrections officers at Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport say the State’s decision to vaccinate inmates with no timetable to vaccinate prison staff sends a terrible message to the workers and their families and is hurting staff morale.

“Yesterday it was communicated to myself and other staff that although we ourselves have no timetable to be offered COVID vaccination, the inmates at our facilities are scheduled to be vaccinated before staff,” Corrections Officer Benjamin Alexander said in a letter to Sen. Russ Ingalls (Essex-Orleans). “This information has had a tremendous negative effect on morale in my department. I find it unconscionable that DOC staff and our families will be left unprotected while the inmates we are overseeing will be given access to vaccination.”

A Covid-19 outbreak struck the prison last week, according to a report in the Newport Dispatch

The DOC says one staff member and 21 incarcerated individuals tested positive for the virus. The 22 total cases were detected in testing conducted on Tuesday. The facility was placed in full lockdown upon receipt of the positive results on Thursday. Contact tracing is underway, and Vermont DOC and Vermont Health Department’s Rapid Response Team say they are outlining follow-up actions and testing.

At his press conference today, Gov. Scott said the priority for immunization wasn’t based on inmate or guard status, but on age. There are some over-70 inmates, but no over-70 staff. Therefore the over-70 group that received the vaccine were all inmates, he said. The State is expanding vaccination to prison staff because “that is the only port of entry.” State officials hope to “establish a perimeter” of vaccination around inmates, he said.

The state’s failure to vaccinate prison staff when the outbreak struck sent a negative message about the value of their safety, Alexander said. 

“My facility is currently under a state of lockdown due to an emergent COVID outbreak,” he said. “I have been working 12-16 hours every day to cover staff shortfalls during this period, and I am isolating myself at home from my children, whom I have sent to live with my parents as a safety precaution.”

“To think that myself and fellow staff who are making similar sacrifices will not be offered the same degree of protection as the inmates in our facilities makes me feel as though the work I do and the safety of myself, my coworkers, and my family has no value to the state of Vermont,” Alexander said. “It is incredibly demoralizing at a time when staff need all the support we can get to pull through this crisis.”

Academic studies show that inmates are at high-risk, due to living indoors in sometimes crowded spaces. However, they are at minimal risk of directly transmitting the virus to the outside community. Prison staff are in contact with both inmates and the outside community.

  1. The Republicans listed above are supporting a candidate from different party, who lost a Republican primary and subequently left the…

5 replies »

  1. When is it going to FINALLY occur to both most Americans AND Vermonters that democrat radical social programs & ideologies do NOT benefit MOST people??? CHANGE YOUR VOTING PATTERNS, for God’s sakes!

    Since WHEN did age SEVENTY & over become the new “high risk” group according to the CDC. Answer? It didn’t. This is merely our poser taking a kneel to the new ideology that those who are good are now bad, and those who were bad are now good.

    Be lucky they’re not all being let out onto the streets as in California. If the legislators had their way, they would be.

  2. In the “New Vermont” prison staff are going to join police in the category of “enemies of freedom”. March on to the leftist utopian idea of a society without police or incarceration. Elections have consequences and apparently we have collectively asked for this by putting the children in charge.

  3. Again – Is the PCR test in use showing many FALSE POSITIVES? Who is dying and hospitalized? What number of the prison population is sick? What number of the population is testing (false) positive but not showing any symptoms? Also remember this “COVID vaccine” is not a “vaccine”, it is only authorized (not approved) under Emergency Use Authorization. All people who get the Experimental Agent (which many call the Covid vaccine) are receiving the shot as test subjects. YOU ARE A TEST SUBJECT. There is no, none, zilch, negative, nada – long term health studies for this EUA. The trials, so far, show that it will NOT stop the spread of this common cold. The current trials only show that there “may” be milder symptoms. And again this is all based on a a PCR test that is wrought with false positives.

    I believe that every single vaccine causes harm – to a greater or lesser degree, seen or unseen. The very mechanism of action required to create antibodies is a dangerous process in and of itself. Aggressively over-stimulating the humeral immune system is bound to cause problems – seen or unseen. What’s interesting is that many of the common childhood (and adult) ailments in the vaccinated population are also listed as side effects on vaccine manufacturer package inserts, yet doctors don’t make the connection, even with it plainly stated for them. Can you spot vaccine injury?

Leave a Reply