Protestors call on Sask. government to vaccinate inmates
REGINA -- Protestors gathered outside the legislative building on Friday, calling on the government to vaccinate inmates in prisons.
Julie Paul said her son is an inmate at the Regina Correctional Centre and has now contracted COVID-19 for the second time. She feels the inmates need to be vaccinated quickly, to hopefully stop the spreading of the virus.
“We’re not just going to let them stay in there to die pretty much and to just suffer,” Paul said. “They should actually be given priority, because they should have just known that they were just going to get COVID.”
As of Thursday, there are 27 active cases in staff and 120 active cases in inmates at the Regina Correctional Centre, according to the Ministry of Justice. A total of 69 staff have recovered from the virus, along with 262 inmates.
The ministry said healthcare workers visited the Regina Correctional Centre on Thursday to vaccinate 15 inmates who are 48 years and older.
There is also two inmates at the Saskatoon and Prince Albert Correctional Centres with the virus, and several single cases at other centres.
The province said inmates will not be given vaccinations ahead of anyone else.
“We have been continually working down the age sequencing and prioritizing people that could have the worst outcome” Minister of Health Paul Merriman said.
Paul feels inmates should instead be receiving extra food and medication to help fight the virus.
“When I had COVID I had a lot of food and boiled water, they don’t have any of those things,” Julie Paul said.
When the vaccine is made eligible for residents 40 years and older, it will also be available for all ages of frontline workers, which includes correctional officers.
The union representing correctional officers is happy to hear vaccinations are coming for the guards, but is deeply disappointed with how long it is taking.
“We’ve been calling on it for months. It’s not just for correctional officers and people working in the young offenders facilities. All essential workers in this province should be vaccinated, and they should have been a priority,” Saskatchewan Government and General Employees' Union spokesperson Barry Nowoselsky said.