Prioritizing the COVID vaccine: Correctional Staff vs. Incarcerated people

CDC guidance states that incarcerated people and staff should be vaccinated in the same phase since both groups are at increased risk of contracting COVID-19. Despite this, almost all states/territories prioritize correctional staff over incarcerated people for vaccination.

We analyzed the most recent edition of each state’s vaccine distribution plan to compare the prioritization of correctional staff and incarcerated people. As indicated in the graphic below, there are significant discrepancies between these two groups. Incarcerated people are categorized in Phase 1 in only 48% of states, whereas staff are categorized in Phase 1 in 72% of states. Similarly, incarcerated populations are not categorized into in any phase in vaccination plans in 23% of states, whereas correctional staff are only left out of 14% of state vaccination plans.

For more insight into COVID-19 vaccinations in correctional facilities, check out our blog post about vaccination plans in each state and our vaccine dose tracker!