• Jiji

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Japan’s Justice Ministry wants to ensure inmates who are at high risk of exposure to COVID-19 because of a crowded living conditions get vaccinated, according to officials.

Ministry officials are considering having municipalities send medical workers to prisons to perform the vaccinations. “We want to see inmates getting vaccinated at the same time as the general public,” one official said.

But many municipalities have yet to finish vaccinating older adults and need to start inoculating the general public soon, a situation leaving early vaccinations for inmates uncertain.

Still, it remains uncertain whether municipal officials who are in charge of vaccinations will give priority to the nation’s nearly 50,000 inmates.

Seventeen new COVID-19 cases involving prisoners were reported at correctional facilities across the country between May 3 and May 30. New cases have also been confirmed in June.

“The situation doesn’t allow us to claim that inmates should be given priority,” the ministry official said.

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