Detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, will be offered COVID-19 vaccines possibly starting next week, The New York Times reported Thursday.
Clayton G. Trivett Jr., the prosecutor in the case against five detainees accused of conspiring in the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, said that a Pentagon official approved distributing vaccines to detainees at the prison, the Times reported. The first dose of the vaccine will be offered to the 40 detainees on a voluntary basis as early as Monday.
“The Department of Defense authorized U.S. Southern Command and Joint Task Force – Guantanamo Bay to offer and administer vaccines to detainees and prisoners under their care. COVID-19 vaccinations will be offered to all detainees and prisoners. It will be administered on a voluntary basis and in accordance with the Department’s priority distribution plan,” Department of Defense Spokesperson Michael L. Howard told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Authorization came in the form of a memorandum signed January 27, 2021 by Terry Adirim, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs,” Howard added.
The Pentagon says the 40 detainees at Guantánamo Bay will be given Covid-19 vaccines. The lack of vaccinations there has been a major obstacle to resuming war crimes hearings. https://t.co/rene2fAOmv
— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 28, 2021
Trivett told defense lawyers Thursday “that an official in the Pentagon has just signed a memo approving the delivery of the Covid-19 vaccine to the detainee population in Guantánamo,” the Times reported.
The 6,000 residents and 1,500 troops assigned to detention operations started receiving vaccinations on Jan. 8, the Times reported. Two positive cases of COVID-19 have been reported from the base, though it’s unclear how many have been infected.
The detainees will be required to consent to receive either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine since the Food and Drug Administration has only approved the emergency-use of either vaccine, the Times reported. (RELATED: Almost All The Inmates In Alaska’s Largest Prison Have Contracted COVID-19)
Access to vaccines has prevented hearings for war criminals at the base, The Times reported. It’s unclear whether the defendants in the Sept. 11, 2001, case will consent to receive the vaccine.
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