Massachusetts health officials have decided to give swine flu vaccinations to prisoners with high health risks before the general population.

Prison officials warn that inmates could quickly spread the flu if not inoculated — particularly those in high-risk groups, such as AIDS patients or the aged.

Department of Public Health spokeswoman Jennifer Manley told the Boston Herald that vaccines will go to correctional facilities the second week of November for prison health care workers and high risk prisoners.

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The vaccinations are set to be available by Nov. 27 to members the general public who have no special risk factors.

Offenders who aren't in any high-risk category will be last in line for the voluntary vaccinations.

State Sen. Mark Montigny said several groups are more vulnerable than prisoners, and added vaccinations should be given to the public immediately.