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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Most states have not made much of their incarcerated populations eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The big picture: Jails and prisons have seen big outbreaks and a higher death rate than the general public, but with supplies still limited, most governors aren't putting prisoners at the top of the list for vaccines.

Where it stands: 15 states are currently rolling out vaccine to inmates, according to February data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

  • Another 15 states are allowing vaccination of staff, but not inmates.

By the numbers: Over the course of the pandemic, prisons have seen roughly 380,000 cases and 2,500 deaths, according to The Marshall Project. Cases and deaths among staff likely are severely undercounted.

  • Around 28% of people incarcerated in state and federal prisons have tested positive for the virus, compared to about 9% of the total U.S. population, per KFF.
  • In most states, the death rate among prisoners is higher than the overall COVID death rate.

The state of play: California, which has had the highest cases and deaths from this population next to federal prisons, has vaccinated the most people than any state within its correctional system — nearly 40%. Virginia and Massachusetts follow.

  • Governors in several states have opened vaccinations to prisoners who are over 70 or who have underlying health conditions — the same criteria they've used outside of prisons.

The other side: In Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis reversed the health department's plan to put incarcerated people ahead of elderly and those with chronic conditions, saying at a press conference that the vaccine won't "go to prisoners before it goes to people who haven't committed any crime."

Yes, but: In Oregon, a federal judge ruled that putting inmates further down the state's vaccination list violated their constitutional rights, saying "the state must fulfill its duty of protecting those in its custody," and they are now ahead of seniors, CNN reports.

Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated" — Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February
  2. Vaccines: Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics.
  5. Variant tracker
Feb 28, 2021 - Health

U.S. sets weekend records for daily COVID vaccinations

A driver waits to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in Inglewood, California on Feb. 26. Photo: Eric Thayer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Just over 2.4 million coronavirus vaccinations were reported to the CDC on Sunday, matching Saturday's record-high for inoculations as seen in Bloomberg's vaccine tracker.

Why it matters: Vaccinations are ramping up again after widespread delays caused by historic winter storms. Over 75 million vaccine doses have been administered thus far, with 7.5% of the population fully vaccinated and 15% having received at least one dose.

Perfect storm brewing for extreme politicians

Data: Axios research; Table: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Redistricting and a flood of departing incumbents are paving the way for more extreme candidates in this year's midterm elections.

Driving the news: At least 19 House districts in 12 states are primed to attract such candidates — hard partisans running in strongly partisan districts — according to an Axios analysis of districts as measured by the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index (PVI).