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A number of Australia’s most infamous prisoners – including Daniel Morcombe’s killer Brett Cowan and wife slayer Gerard Baden-Clay – are poised to receive Pfizer jabs before many law-abiding citizens.
While there are abundant AstraZeneca vaccines in Australia, there is limited supply of Pfizer, with appointments scarce for both young and old who want that particular jab.
But for Queensland prisoners, the Pfizer vaccine is being widely administered to inmates by the state’s health vaccination clinic as well as prison health services staff.
Queensland Health refused to confirm how many inmates had been vaccinated, but a spokesman later said that ‘vaccinations for prisoners and Queensland Corrective Services staff has been under way for several months – and will continue to be implemented progressively.’
The news is likely to raise questions about why criminals can’t be given the AstraZeneca jab, which Australia has millions of spare doses of and is perfectly effective.
Baden Clay murdered his wife Allison in 2012, while Cowan killed 13-year-old Daniel Morcombe in 2003. Both men are serving life sentences.
Notorious Australian prisoner Brett Cowan, who murdered Daniel Morcombe on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, could receive a Pfizer vaccine before law abiding citizens in the Sunshine State
Fellow Queensland inmate Gerard Baden-Clay, who murdered his wife Allison, could also get the jab before Queensland residents
In NSW, where Covid case numbers to continue to surge, precise vaccination rates behind bars also remain a mystery.
It comes after Parklea Prison, in Sydney’s north-west, and Cessnock Correctional Centre in the Hunter Valley were both placed in urgent lockdown recently after 12 Covid-positive inmates were detected at Parklea.
Some prisoners had been in contact with other prisoners now housed at Cessnock, placing both centres at risk.
Other prisoners at Lithgow Correctional Centre, in the NSW Central Tablelands, are reportedly resisting vaccination requests due to religious beliefs.
The stand-off has left some NSW correctional staff on edge, given they have no powers to mandate vaccination jabs to inmates.
‘Prison officers understand the risks of Covid-19 and want to be vaccinated,’ Nicole Jess, president of the Public Service Association of NSW, said.
‘The challenge is supply. ‘The PSA has asked NSW Health for further on-site vaccinations for prison officers.’
In one recent instance, an officer from Parklea Prison confirmed inmates were given priority when there was a shortage of vaccinations for prisoners and staff.
Australia’s current full vaccination rate sits at just under 28 per cent.
Once the nation achieves a rate of 80 per cent – which could be the end of 2021 based on current numbers – life will then slowly ‘return to normal’ according to many state leaders.
Once Australia’s vaccination rate reaches 80 per cent, state leaders have pledged life will then ‘return to normal’ (stock image)
Source: Daily Mail