Earlier this week, the Department of Defense (DOD) said they were set to administer the COVID-19 vaccine on a voluntary basis to the prisoners of the Guantánamo Bay detention camp (Gitmo).
The New York Post reported that the Pentagon will receive shipments of the vaccine starting on January 29. Terry Adirim, President Biden’s appointed Principal Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, signed the order on January 27.
This decision sparked outrage on social media, especially from right-wing personalities and politicians, and from New Yorkers as one of the prisoners is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. He is the suspected leader of the 9/11 terror attack and could’ve potentially received the vaccine before U.S. citizens.
Former NYC Fire Commissioner during 9/11, Tom Von Essen, told the New York Post, “You can’t make this up. The ridiculousness of what we get from our government. They will run the vaccine down to those lowlifes at Guantanamo Bay before every resident of the United States of America gets it is the theater of the absurd.”
On Saturday, Pentagon spokesman, John Kirby announced via Twitter that there would be a pause on administering the vaccine to prisoners. He said he wants to, “keep our troops safe.”
There are no reports of any COVID-19 outbreaks among the prisoners at this time. On January, 8 Gitmo personnel and troops began receiving vaccines.
According to Fox News, two DOD officials told them that the lack of vaccinations among the inmates made the war crime hearing prosecutions difficult.