MA Inmates To Get Swine Flu Shots Before The Rest Of Us

Your tax dollars at work, ladies and gentlemen.

Thousands of state inmates will get coveted swine-flu vaccinations weeks before law-abiding Bay Staters – who foot the bill for prisons – have a shot at protecting themselves, state public health officials have decided.

The prison pampering has one lawmaker questioning the con-voluted flu preparation.

“I can think of a number of populations that are more needy and vulnerable than prisoners,” said state Sen. Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford), who co-chairs the legislative committee on public health.

Montigny said all the shots – or mist, depending on the product – should “get out on the street immediately.”

Jail officials warn their population – especially those in high-risk groups from the AIDS-infected to aging prisoners – could spread the flu at a frightful pace if they are not inoculated.

“It’s a perfect breeding ground,” said Middlesex Sheriff James V. DiPaola, who quelled riots at a Cambridge jail in July after rumors about swine flu cases spread among prisoners.

All county jails and prisons have asked for the vaccine, including the Department of Correction, which requested 21,000 doses to innoculate staff and inmates, health and prison officials said.

Swine flu vaccines will be sent to correctional facilities in the second week of November to inoculate prison health-care workers and those at “high risk,” said state Department of Public Health spokeswoman Jennifer Manley.

I’m not against vaccinating inmates.  I am against them getting first dibs, though.