HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — In response to the Wolf administration’s proposal to require mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations and testing of state employees, the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association (PSCOA) has filed legal action against the administration.
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“During the height of the pandemic, the state Department of Corrections (DOC) imposed restrictions on all prison volunteers, contractors, visitors and inmates,” PSCOA President John Eckenrode said. “Not only have these restrictions been lifted as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads, but DOC is not applying the vaccination and testing requirement to those same individuals who were restricted last year.
According to the press release, in the earlier days of the COVID-19 pandemic, PSCOA repeatedly called on the Department of Corrections to stop prison transfers, but they continued despite the growing cases. PSCOA also made multiple requests for its members to be made a priority for vaccinations.
“This, coupled with the administration’s inconsistent policies during the pandemic, has made work conditions dangerous for our members,” Eckenrode said.
As a result of no availability to vaccinations, over 3,700 PSCOA members tested positive for COVID-19 both prior to and after the vaccines became available.
“We have always believed receiving the COVID-19 vaccine should be a choice for all Americans, but Corrections employees should’ve been prioritized, given our work conditions. Instead, smokers were given priority. Members spent months trying to get the vaccine on their own, but many couldn’t and were infected,” Eckenrode said.