Media Contact

Cassidy Fallik, 913-748-1278,

March 9, 2021

OKLAHOMA CITY - In response to the Oklahoma Department of Health’s announcement that Oklahomans in Phase 3 of OSDH’s vaccine distribution plan are eligible as early as Tuesday, March 9th to receive their COVID-19 vaccine, the ACLU of Oklahoma issued the following statement: 

The following is attributable to Nicole McAfee, Director of Policy and Advocacy:

“For almost a year, the ACLU of Oklahoma has urged Governor Stitt and policy makers to consider the impact of COVID-19 in our prisons and jails. We have stressed the potential massive loss of life and the impact on surrounding communities if people incarcerated were not made a priority during vaccine rollout. Yet here we are, well beyond ODOC’s original estimate of when those under their care would start receiving the vaccine, and the Oklahoma Department of Health is now expanding phasing access beyond people incarcerated. This comes without any distribution of vaccines to the tens of thousands of Oklahomans held in prisons and jails across the state. As COVID-19 rates of infection are down, we’re seeing a large jump in positive cases at Oklahoma State Penitentiary.”

“Our government must make every effort to protect the rights of people experiencing illness or at risk of illness, especially during a public health emergency. This includes jails, prisons, and other detention facilities in the state facing barriers that often have large numbers of people who are especially vulnerable to the virus. State and county health departments should be transparent in their distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine and prioritize those currently incarcerated.”