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PLoS One ; 16(6): e0253208, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1269921


BACKGROUND: Carceral facilities are epicenters of the COVID-19 pandemic, placing incarcerated people at an elevated risk of COVID-19 infection. Due to the initial limited availability of COVID-19 vaccines in the United States, all states have developed allocation plans that outline a phased distribution. This study uses document analysis to compare the relative prioritization of incarcerated people, correctional staff, and other groups at increased risk of COVID-19 infection and morbidity. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We conducted a document analysis of the vaccine dissemination plans of all 50 US states and the District of Columbia using a triple-coding method. Documents included state COVID-19 vaccination plans and supplemental materials on vaccine prioritization from state health department websites as of December 31, 2020. We found that 22% of states prioritized incarcerated people in Phase 1, 29% of states in Phase 2, and 2% in Phase 3, while 47% of states did not explicitly specify in which phase people who are incarcerated will be eligible for vaccination. Incarcerated people were consistently not prioritized in Phase 1, while other vulnerable groups who shared similar environmental risk received this early prioritization. States' plans prioritized in Phase 1: prison and jail workers (49%), law enforcement (63%), seniors (65+ years, 59%), and long-term care facility residents (100%). CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that states' COVID-19 vaccine allocation plans do not prioritize incarcerated people and provide little to no guidance on vaccination protocols if they fall under other high-risk categories that receive earlier priority. Deprioritizing incarcerated people for vaccination misses a crucial opportunity for COVID-19 mitigation. It also raises ethical and equity concerns. As states move forward with their vaccine distribution, further work must be done to prioritize ethical allocation and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to incarcerated people.

COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , Health Care Rationing/organization & administration , Prisoners/statistics & numerical data , Vaccination/standards , Age Factors , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Family , Health Care Rationing/standards , Humans , Middle Aged , Pandemics/prevention & control , Police/statistics & numerical data , Risk Factors , United States/epidemiology , Vulnerable Populations/statistics & numerical data
J Gen Intern Med ; 36(7): 2094-2099, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1217470


The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped health care delivery for all patients but has distinctly affected the most marginalized people in society. Incarcerated patients are both more likely to be infected and more likely to die from COVID-19. There is a paucity of guidance for the care of incarcerated patients hospitalized with COVID-19. This article will discuss how patient privacy, adequate communication, and advance care planning are rights that incarcerated patients may not experience during this pandemic. We highlight the role of compassionate release and note how COVID-19 may affect this prospect. A number of pragmatic recommendations are made to attenuate the discrepancy in hospital care experienced by those admitted from prisons and jails. Physicians must be familiar with the relevant hospital policies, be prepared to adapt their practices in order to overcome barriers to care, such as continuous shackling, and advocate to change these policies when they conflict with patient care. Stigma, isolation, and concerns over staff safety are shared experiences for COVID-19 and incarcerated patients, but incarcerated patients have been experiencing this treatment long before the current pandemic. It is crucial that the internist demand the equitable care that we seek for all our patients.

COVID-19 , Prisoners , Humans , Pandemics , Prisons , SARS-CoV-2
Hastings Cent Rep ; 50(3): 40-43, 2020 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-619431


Common hospital and surgical center responses to the Covid-19 pandemic included curtailing "elective" procedures, which are typically determined based on implications for physical health and survival. However, in the focus solely on physical health and survival, procedures whose main benefits advance components of well-being beyond health, including self-determination, personal security, economic stability, equal respect, and creation of meaningful social relationships, have been disproportionately deprioritized. We describe how female reproduction-related procedures, including abortion, surgical sterilization, reversible contraception devices and in vitro fertilization, have been broadly categorized as "elective," a designation that fails to capture the value of these procedures or their impact on women's overall well-being. We argue that corresponding restrictions and delays of these procedures are problematically reflective of underlying structural views that marginalize women's rights and interests and therefore threaten to propagate gender injustice during the pandemic and beyond. Finally, we propose a framework for triaging reproduction-related procedures during Covid-19 that is more individualized, accounts for their significance for comprehensive well-being, and can be used to inform resumption of operations as well as subsequent restriction phases.

Abortion, Induced/ethics , Contraception/ethics , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Elective Surgical Procedures/ethics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Reproductive Rights/ethics , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Developing Countries , Female , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Time Factors , Women's Health