By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento County jail inmates may now move to the front of the COVID vaccine line.

The Sacramento County Jail system currently houses 3,300 inmates. The decision to vaccinate them comes after inmate activists called for safer COVID conditions in the jails following several outbreaks.

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The move comes as many people living in Sacramento County are still not able to receive a vaccine.

Craig Allen is 62-years-old and fighting several medical conditions, a plight that’s put him in Sacramento County’s phase 1-C. He’s still unable to get a vaccine.

“You know people like me, we are super vigilant,” Allen said, “You know, we’re not going out to bars, we’re not going out to house parties, you know, we stay away from people.”

As eligible residents lined up for the elusive shot at a booked McClellan vaccine site Wednesday, the county is now putting inmates ahead of Allen.

“I understand what they’re trying to do,” Allen said, “but I think I should come before a prisoner.”

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Sacramento County inmate activists have championed safer jails for those incarcerated during the coronavirus pandemic. In January, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office released 178 inmates early to help stop the spread of the virus.

Still, the group “Decarcerate Sacramento” is voicing concern some inmates who do not want a vaccine may be forced to get one.

“You know the vaccine is great, but it’s not the total answer, the answer is cleanliness, desanitizing, disinfecting, everything that these people don’t already get,” Decarcerate Sacramento’s Pamela Emanuel said.

The inmate vaccine announcement comes the same week Sacramento County Public Health announced a 3,000-dose drop in allocations to the county compared to a week earlier — an alarming figure that may have been due in part to computer problems.

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Sacramento County’s vaccine availability. County inmates can now get in line. How long will the rest of us wait?