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O.J. Simpson gets COVID vaccine in Las Vegas

Updated February 2, 2021 - 8:48 am

WASHINGTON — O.J. Simpson already has been vaccinated in Nevada — and the former NFL running back infamous for his acquittal of the 1994 murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman is feeling fine.

“No ill effects,” Simpson tweeted Sunday.

Simpson, who has been known to use social media to taunt those who believe that a Los Angeles jury wrongly found him not guilty of murder and spared him from decades locked behind bars, said that after celebrating his “34th 39th birthday,” he qualified for a vaccine under Nevada guidelines.

With the help of his daughter, who spent hours on the phone, Simpson was able to sign up for a shot in the arm administered at a Walgreens pharmacy. On Friday, Simpson posted a photo of the moment of inoculation.

At age 73, Simpson is included in groups authorized to get a priority COVID-19 vaccination.

In 2008, a Las Vegas jury found Simpson and friend Clarence “C.J.” Stewart guilty of charges of armed robbery and first-degree kidnapping with a deadly weapon for their role in a holdup of two sports memorabilia dealers at Palace Station. Simpson was sentenced to nine to 33 years in prison. He was paroled in 2017.

Policy for inmates

“He qualified, so even jerky celebrities who meet standards are eligible for the vaccine,” said Arthur Caplan, professor of bioethics at New York University Langone Medical Center.

“I know he was up there tweeting and encouraging people to get vaccines,” Caplan said. “And I would say it may have been better for him to just stay quiet. He’s not the world’s best builder of trust.”

Caplan is aware of many who in the same spirit argue that prisoners should not be a priority to get vaccinated, but he disagrees. Jail should not be a death sentence, Caplan said, yet jails and prisons can be especially hazardous because of inmates’ inability to socially distance.

According to the Marshall Project, 46 Nevada inmates — or 1 in every 269 — have died from COVID-19 and 1 in 3 prisoners have tested positive.

According to the Nevada Department of Corrections, the state health policy playbook prioritizes “the vaccination of employees. Once on site vaccinations for employees have concluded, distribution will begin for inmates.”

Among inmates, seniors and offenders with underlying health conditions will be prioritized.

“I don’t have any problem with saying that the stigma of being a prisoner, just like the stigma of being a smoker, obese, vaping or other behaviors that may have led to health issues and stigma, we should put it aside. Just do the right thing and save lives with the vaccines,” Caplan said.

Gitmo shots delayed

After The New York Times reported Thursday that the Department of Defense planned to vaccinate Guantanamo Bay’s 40 detainees, including alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, 56, outrage followed.

“President (Joe) Biden told us he would have a plan to defeat the virus on Day 1. He just never told us that it would be to give the vaccine to terrorists before most Americans,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted.

Before the weekend was over, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby walked back the plan. “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 wrote on Twitter.

Vaccinating Guantanamo detainees could prevent spread to staff and visitors, Caplan noted, but given their alleged terrorism and their “trivial” number, “we can put them at the end of the list of those most in need,” he said.

Caplan added that he would like to see more vaccinations for overlooked group homes for adults with mental illness.

In a two-minute video posted on Twitter, Simpson said the Pfizer shot had left him feeling fine.

As a joke, he lowered his mask, which sported his iconic nickname, “The Juice,” to display joke-shop mangled teeth hanging out of his mouth. Simpson mugged, “I’m just teasing.”

Another notable who posted news of her vaccine was SoulCycle celebrity instructor Stacey Griffith, 52. Griffith told The Daily Beast that she qualified for the shot under New York rules because she was an “educator.”

After New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and others slammed Griffith for gaming the system, she wrote in an Instagram post, “I want to apologize from the bottom of my heart for my recent action in receiving the vaccine. I made a terrible error in judgment and for that I am truly sorry.”

Contact Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@reviewjournal.com. Follow @DebraJSaunders on Twitter.

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