FREEPORT, ILLINOIS — State Representative Andrew Chesney (R-Freeport) had harsh words for Governor JB Pritzker’s plan to move up prisoner vaccination ahead of vaccinating adults with high-risk medical conditions.
“I support offering vaccinations to prison and jail staff as early as possible due to their high-risk of exposure and risk of community spread, but to put prisoners before medically vulnerable adults who do not live within congregate living facilities is a slap in the face to the public,” said Chesney. “Governor Pritzker has a strange fascination with putting prisoners before the public.”
In a deviation from CDC guidelines, the Pritzker administration announced last week they are preparing to prioritize prison inmates in the second round of Coronavirus vaccinations, according to an updated distribution plan published by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Other democrat governors, including the democrat governor of Colorado eschewed efforts to prioritize prisoners over the public.
“For all the talk we just heard from Democrats about prioritizing the needs of pre-trial detainees because they are not yet convicted of a crime, we now see the bald truth put to the lie. Clearly, Pritzker prioritizes prisoners above the medically vulnerable public. This is shameful,” chided Chesney.
While the state’s first doses of Coronavirus vaccines went to frontline health care workers and to the sick and elderly living in long-term care facilities who faced higher risk of death, Pritzker’s modified plan would move prisoners up in line ahead of adults with cancer, kidney failure, heart conditions, and COPD. This plan also puts prisoners ahead of workers at restaurants, factories, gyms, salons, and other industries with workers who face “increased risk of exposure.”
Andrew S. Chesney is an elected Republican member of the Illinois House of Representatives for the 89th district.