Defense Department pauses plan to offer COVID-19 vaccine to Guantanamo Bay prisoners after GOP criticism
Department of Defenseis pausing a plan to offer COVID-19vaccines to Guantanamo Bayprisoners.
- The plan drew criticism from GOP lawmakers who said it prioritized terrorists.
- Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said the department is reviewing measures to keep troops safe.
The Department of Defense is pausing a plan to offer COVID-19 vaccines to detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, made the announcement in a tweet Saturday, saying that no detainees at the prison have been vaccinated.
"We're pausing the plan to move forward, as we review force protection protocols," he said. "We remain committed to our obligations to keep our troops safe."
The plan to offer vaccines to prisoners at Guantanamo was reported by The New York Times on Thursday.
Republican lawmakers criticized the announcement, saying that the plan was prioritizing terrorists over average Americans.
Guantanamo Bay currently has 40 prisoners, according to the Times. One of them is Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who has been accused of being the principal architect of the 9/11 attacks.
"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," Rep.
McCarthy also tweeted the news that the plan would be paused, saying "Good."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines encourage vaccinating correctional staff and incarcerated people at the same time to avoid outbreaks. The CDC also highlights the increased risk of becoming ill in a prison facility due to being inside in close quarters.
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