Selin ATAY- The Pentagon is pausing a plan to offer coronavirus vaccines to Guantánamo Bay detainees, Defense Department press secretary John Kirby said Saturday.

Pentagon chief spokesman John Kirby said in a tweet that the Pentagon would be “pausing” the plan to give the vaccination to those held at Guantanamo while it reviews measures to keep safe troops who work there. “No Guantanamo detainees have been vaccinated. We’re pausing the plan to move forward, as we review force protection protocols. We remain committed to our obligations to keep our troops safe." Kirby tweeted.

The Defense Department had planned to begin vaccinating detainees on a volunteer basis, several media outlets reported earlier this week. However, the plan drew some criticisms by Republicans, who called it "inexcusable and un-American."

It is unclear how many people at Guantánamo have been infected with COVID-19. There have been no reported cases of Covid-19 among the detention centre prisoners. Early in the coronavirus pandemic the US military stopped reporting cases at individual bases due to security reasons.

Under the reign of US President Barrack Obama, US opened the detention centre in January 2002 to hold detainees suspected of links to al-Qaida and the Taliban. About 40 inmates are still being held at the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, military prison.

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