The Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association called on Acting Department of Health Secretary Alison Beam to prioritize the COVID vaccination of corrections officers in state prisons over smokers. At the recommendation of the federal CDC, the Wolf Administration recently moved smokers to 1A – their top category for vaccination. Corrections officers remain at 1B.
“It’s one thing to follow CDC guidelines regarding smokers, but that doesn’t prevent the administration from making the vaccination of its own corrections officers a higher priority,” said PSCOA Western Region Vice President John Eckenrode. “Our state prison system has been overcome by COVID, but for some reason the Wolf Administration has decided to ignore its own corrections officers, who are risking their lives every day in some of the worst conditions of this pandemic. Our members are overworked, exhausted and are working massive amounts of overtime due to COVID-19 illnesses within their ranks. The mental anguish of passing the virus to their loved ones also takes a tremendous toll. That’s why this decision to put smokers ahead of corrections officers is repugnant. It’s time for this administration to use common sense in its vaccination plan.”