This Judge Threatened Him With Prison Time For Not Getting The Vaccine

Syringe in vaccination bottle
Zain Murdock
September 1, 2021

On August 4, 21-year-old Brandon Rutherford was ready to go over the terms of his release and probation in court. But he didn’t expect the judge to say this: “I’m going to order you, within the next two months, to get a vaccine … You violate, you could go to prison."

Was the judge serious?

Yes. And Judge Christopher A. Wagner isn’t the only judge who has made that threat! 

Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19. But this “incentive” to get the vaccine actually creates more issues than it solves.

Rutherford is focused on getting back on his feet. “But that little thing,” he says, “can set me back.” Especially for Black people.

Besides vaccine hesitancy rooted in medical racism, Black Americans have disproportionate access to resources and healthcare during this pandemic. We’re already almost 3x more likely to die of COVID-19. And it’s even worse in prisons. So why threaten to send Rutherford there?

This country refuses to actually encourage people to do something without using punishment. If they really cared about our health and well-being, they would give us the education, resources, and financial support to get the vaccine – not lock us up in a COVID hotbed if we don’t!

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