The Department of Defense will reportedly begin offering prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center coronavirus vaccines on Monday after previously scuttling a plan to do so earlier this year.
A senior defense official told the Associated Press that the decision coincides with the Biden administration’s Monday announcement expanding vaccine eligibility to all Americans over the age of 16. The official added that though the 40 inmates held in Guantanamo are not American citizens, they will also be made vaccine eligible to comply with coronavirus guidance regarding the handling of prisoners.
“Obviously, we don’t want an outbreak of COVID on a remote island with the challenges that would present,” the anonymous official told AP. (RELATED: Every American Over 16 Is Now Eligible For Vaccination, Biden Admin Says)
Neither the Department of Defense nor the White House returned Daily Caller’s inquiries on the subject by press time.
The Biden administration initially announced its intent to vaccinate Guantanamo prisoners in late January. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby eventually paused the initiative following blowback from Congressional Republicans and survivors of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, which were allegedly planned by a number of prisoners still being held in Guantanamo.
“President Biden told us he would have a plan to defeat the virus on day 1,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted at the time. “He just never told us that it would be to give the vaccine to terrorists before most Americans.”
President Biden told us he would have a plan to defeat the virus on day 1. He just never told us that it would be to give the vaccine to terrorists before most Americans.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) January 30, 2021
President Joe Biden launched a review process in February to determine the ultimate steps to close down the Guantanamo facility, something former President Barack Obama vowed to do but did not accomplish before leaving office in 2017.
This is a developing story and will be updated with new information as it becomes available.