Photo by Matthew Ansley on Unsplash

Since the start of this pandemic, the medical staff has been trying to keep up with the disease. There has been a lot of trial-and-error. We’ve lost many lives, both inmate and staff, to COVID-19. Everyone is trying to prevent the spread, but there are instances where it seems like people don’t see the gravity of the situation. Some people don’t wear their masks properly, or at all.

I’ve been quarantined twice. Once, I tested positive for COVID-19. The second quarantine happened because I was exposed to the virus by the nursing staff. In the end, it turned out to be false—the nurse came to work the same day. I was frustrated because it was inconvenient to pack and move into solitary for isolation. Plus, solitary due to COVID-19 feels like punishment. 

They are offering the vaccine here, but it seems haphazard. They have given it to the staff, but now they’re focusing on the high-risk older people. I thought that they would make an exception for me because I am living with HIV, and I also have diabetes and sleep apnea, but I still can’t get the vaccine. I consider myself high-risk, but since I’ve had COVID-19 once, I have to wait until everyone has been vaccinated.  

I’m tired and stressed because—between now and then—I could end up in solitary as many times as they feel like sending me. I look to the future with more assurance that I’ll get my vaccine.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

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Adriel Ramirez

Adriel Ramirez is a trans writer incarcerated in California.