Two GOP congresswomen are blasting the Pentagon for a now-paused plan to give coronavirus vaccinations to alleged terrorist detainees imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay before Americans that are waiting to receive them.
Reps. Elise Stefanik (NY) and Ashley Hinson (IA) introduced a resolution to bar the detainees from getting vaccines until all Americans have had the chance to get them, arguing that it should never have been considered in the first place.
“Americans need to get the vaccine before terrorists, and it’s upsetting to me that that even was a question, and I think we need to make sure the administration is held accountable for this and thats what I think this resolution does,” Hinson told Fox News in an interview on Monday. “It puts a spotlight on the thinking and the planning that was going on behind this.”
“No detainees have been vaccinated”
A Pentagon spokesperson said on Sunday that no detainees had been vaccinated and that the plans to do so had been paused on Saturday before any vaccines were administered.
No Guantanamo detainees have been vaccinated. We’re pausing the plan to move forward, as we review force protection protocols. We remain committed to our obligations to keep our troops safe.
— John Kirby (@PentagonPresSec) January 30, 2021
“It is inexcusable and un-American that President Biden is prioritizing vaccines for Gitmo terrorist detainees over American citizens, including veterans, first responders, 9/11 first responders, and seniors,” Stefanik said. “Every American should have access to vaccines before these heinous terrorists.”
The resolution noted that only a tiny percentage of Americans have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, and that many are eager to receive the vaccinations.
Vaccine rollout proceeding
The vaccine rollout is going more slowly than expected, and many first-tier candidates are still waiting for their first dose of vaccine amid shortages in some states.
Accused 9/11 ringleader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is among the Guantanamo detainees that would have been offered the vaccine, so the backlash against the idea is understandable.
COVID-19 has been spreading inside prisons, which has led to some non-violent prisoners being released. I’m not saying that suspected terrorists’ lives don’t matter, but they should maybe not be a priority above American citizens at high risk for serious virus impacts.
The Biden administration has increased the amount of vaccine being sent to each state in recent days, with states now splitting 10.5 million vaccine doses per week.