WASHINGTON (AP) – Inmates at Guantanamo Bay may begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday. A senior defense official told the Associated Press months after the vaccination plan failed because many Americans were not. have the right to receive the shots.
The new deadline coincides with President Biden’s deadline to authorize all adults in the United States to receive coronavirus vaccines. Starting Monday, anyone over the age of 18 in the country is eligible to register online for vaccinations.
A defense official said all 40 men detained at Cuba’s naval base would be offered the vaccine to meet legal requirements for the treatment of prisoners and to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Strict quarantine procedures have already severely restricted operations at the base; suspended trials for prisoners facing war crimes trials, including in 2001. People accused of the September 11 attacks.
“Obviously we do not want a COVID outbreak on a remote island with the challenges it faces,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, to discuss efforts before making an official announcement.
The announcement in January that the military intended to offer the vaccine to prisoners was widely criticized, especially among Republicans in Congress, when the COVID-19 vaccine was being passed on to Guantanamo troops, civilians who were not widely available in the United States.
Several Republican lawmakers backed legislation that would ban the Guantanamo Bay vaccine until all Americans have access to it.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy criticized the decision on Twitter. “President Biden told us he would be able to overcome the virus on day one,” the California Republican said Jan. 30. “He never told us he would give the vaccine to terrorists before most Americans do.”
Although the decision to vaccinate prisoners is still controversial, the main difference now is that the vaccine is now available to anyone over the age of 18, both at the base and in the United States. Half of all adults in the country received at least one shot.
At Guantanamo Bay, 5,600% of the total population, or about 5,700 people, have been vaccinated – military personnel, contractors, dependents, the shot is available to any adult who wishes to do so. base hospital officer.
There are about 1,500 people in the special forces unit that manages the detention center at the base. No case of COVID-19 was reported among any of the detainees.
The medical staff has already discussed the vaccine with the prisoners. The Invarians do not plan to reveal how many will eventually decide to make it, the official said, citing medical confidentiality rules.
The Biden administration announced in April that it could fully review prison operations with the goal of closing the facility, which opened in January 2002, to hold people suspected of links to al-Qaeda and the Taliban following the September 11 attacks. ,
Nearly 680 detainees were held at the R Nav U base in southeastern Cuba in 2003, which peaked in 2003, widely condemning the treatment of men held there, mostly without charge.
Closing it has been a challenge as the United States seeks to continue to detain and persecute some detainees, but Congress has for some reason prevented any detainees from being transferred to in-house facilities.
Among those still detained is Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, who is being tried along with four others on charges of murder and terrorism in connection with the 9/11 attacks. The case has been pending for a long time, and no hearings have been held for more than a year due to the epidemic.