Advocates call for incarcerated Mainers to be prioritized in state’s COVID vaccine plan


The issue has also drawn the attention of the state’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous and Maine Tribal Populations. James Myall, one of the commissioners of the group — which has the goal of improving the status and outcomes for historically disadvantaged populations in Maine — said the question of where inmates should be in the vaccination plan came up in a conversation Wednesday that the commission had with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Myall, who is also an economic policy analyst at the Maine Center for Economic Policy, said the commission will be having a meeting soon with Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, about the state’s vaccine plan. (The commission’s meeting with Shah will take place Wednesday, Cheryl Davis of the Maine Department of Labor told Beacon on Monday).

“I think it’s something that Dr. Shah is likely going to be pressed on,” Myall said of the effort to move incarcerated people to phase 1b of the vaccination plan.

“I don’t want to speak for the whole commission necessarily because we haven’t gotten into that discussion as a whole group, but I suspect there will at least be plenty of us who will be making that case” to move incarcerated people to that higher phase, Myall added.

Click here to read the full story, first published December 14, 2020, in Beacon.