On January 27th, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Terry Adirim announced that the Pentagon would vaccinate some 40 detainees at GITMO (Guantanamo Naval Station). Adirim, who was appointed by Biden on Inauguration day, has already drawn sharp criticism for the decision.

A kind of firestorm erupted over whether these Islamist terrorist detainees should receive a vaccine before the average American. The controversy then spread to several U.S. states which also planned to vaccinate prisoners ahead of most civilians.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, speaking at The Villages, a large community for seniors in central Florida, was also against vaccinating prisoners before ordinary citizens. “Some of these states are vaccinating prisoners instead of seniors,” he said. “They’re vaccinating drug addicts instead of seniors.”

According to CDC data, the Federal Bureau of Prisons has administered over 31,000 doses to prisoners within its system. It should be expected that other governors in other states will soon follow popular sentiment and put prisoners at the end of the line for receiving vaccines.

Now Congress is in on the act.

A resolution submitted by Reps. Ashley Hinson (R-IA) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY) opposes, “any plans by the United States Department of Defense to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to prisoners held at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay and detained during operations conducted during the Global War on Terrorism until all Americans have had the opportunity to be vaccinated.”

While it’s easy enough to say, “F*** em, I don’t care if these prisoners die from COVID-19, especially the ones at GIMTO!” but there are several very good reasons that the government should vaccinate prisoners as a priority.

Prisoners tend to live pretty tightly together. A major study shows that the infection rate has been three times higher among the prison population versus the general public, and the mortality rate is double. At least 275,000 incarcerated people have tested positive for COVID-19, and more than 1,700 have died. Prisoners have a difficult time social-distancing because of the very conditions of prison life, which include not having access to cleaning supplies.