Smokers in some states eligible for COVID-19 vaccine sooner, sparking frustration among others

Federal guidelines recommend that smokers under 65 who are classified as high risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms should be eligible for the vaccine at the early stages of distribution, frustrating key workers who are lower in the priority line. New Jersey and Mississippi are currently offering the vaccine vaccine for smokers under 65, and several other states have counted smokers among the next but haven't yet opened the stage, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The move to prioritize smokers over key workers like teachers received some criticism, although the gradual roll-out is in line with federal guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control that put smoking on a list of conditions "that are at increased risk for seriousness." Causing disease from the virus that causes COVID-19 "The Immunization Practices Committee advises smokers to get vaccinated at Phase 1c. Ultimately, however, states have their own discretion as to how to open eligibility for the vaccine to constituents. "As ACIP makes recommendations, we understand that there will be some local adjustment. The recommendations for incremental vaccines should be fluid and non-restrictive by jurisdiction. It is not necessary to vaccinate everyone in one phase before the next phase is initiated. Phases can overlap, "CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said in a statement to CNN. Phase 1c includes people ages 65 to 74, people ages 16 to 64 with high-risk conditions, and other key workers. Phase 1a includes health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities, and Phase 1b includes people aged 75 and over and non-healthcare workers / basic carers. "This means ideally reaching a sweet spot that will maximize vaccine uptake in the guns while maintaining priority groups – mostly because they are people who are at higher risk of complications from COVID-19 or because of their job are more likely to be exposed to the virus, "said Nordlund. The teachers who are still waiting in line for the vaccine educators in New Jersey are disappointed Sue McBride, president of the Bergen County Education Association, told CNN, "From what I hear, it's just another round of the world Frustration and another round of difficulty. " You know our educators and our educational support professionals have working contact with the students and their colleagues in their school buildings, "said McBride." The idea of ​​having a vaccine that will hopefully give you some rest. And some hope and movement in a positive direction will be appreciated. You know, and it is eagerly awaited. "The New Jersey Educators Association continues to adhere to the need for vaccine access so educators can bring schools closer to normal." We have said from the start that priority should be given to educators in access to the vaccine. This is an important step towards a safer return to personal learning. We have been in constant contact with state officials about educators' access to vaccinations. We reaffirmed the need to do whatever it takes to expedite this access, even given the Trump administration's revised federal guidelines and a slow federal roll-out of the actual vaccine, "NJEA director of communications Steve Baker told CNN .Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced this week an expansion of the rollout to include those with underlying medical conditions, including smokers, but said it will be important staff members like teachers. "And be our first responders, our cops, our firefighters, and ours Firefighters very clearly. You are on deck for our teachers. Next time we have an update, it is expected to announce that the vaccine will be available to you, "Tate said at a news conference Tuesday. CNN did not immediately hear a statement from the Mississippi Department of Health. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy did defended the decision, stating that if the federal government were to make more doses of vaccine available to states, there would be no discussion. "I see, I understand the optics here and the attacking people who have taken up the habit of smoking and are now addicted can make political sense "Murphy said at a press conference on Friday." But at this point, we're stuck in a position where we need to prioritize a limited nationwide dose of vaccine based on medical facts, not political wants. We have to save lives. By the way, we have to protect our hospitals from an increase in the number of patients. Murphy added that "teachers are in the deck circle" and that all teachers under 65 with chronic illness are currently eligible for the vaccine. Donna Leusner, spokeswoman for the New Jersey Department of Health, told CNN that smoking is a health risk for health officials Citizen is considered. "Yes, the issue has been raised. Nicotine is one of the strongest addictions. Smoking puts people at higher risk of more serious illnesses. If a person who smokes gets COVID, they get sick much faster. Our goal is to save as many lives as possible and promote vaccination among the risk groups. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the US and New Jersey (with the exception of COVID-19). We encourage everyone who smokes to quit, "Leusner said in a statement to CNN. Related video: US Governors Angry at Faults in Vaccine Supply. Smoking and COVID-19 from a Public Health Perspective. Estimated 2 million New Jersey smokers make up the largest qualified population for the vaccine among the list of underlying diseases, New Jersey health commissioner Judy Persichilli told a news conference Wednesday that prioritizing smokers is a public health issue, not a judgment of personal choices said Dr. Albert Rizzo, the chief medical officer of the American Lung Association. "It is a population that we know is at risk, whether it was a good or a bad choice to become a smoker. They are smokers, at risk of getting sick and needing medical care. So if we can keep them healthy, it will help society in general, ”Rizzo told CNN. Rizzo, a pulmonologist with the Christiana Care Health System in Delaware, is difficult to exclude all smokers in favor of smokers who have also been diagnosed with respiratory diseases. "We can make arguments on either side, but we know that smoking is by itself, whether you have chronic bronchitis but no COPD, or really just a cough and no shortness of breath is still putting you at risk," said Rizzo. " And I think most people scientifically say that when you breathe in tobacco fumes, nicotine and tar, all of these things inflame your airways and put you at risk whether or not you have reached the point where you will develop COPD. "The World Health Organization launched a 'Commit to Quit' campaign in December to warn smokers around the world of the risks associated with the pandemic and to offer resources to encourage people to quit.

Federal guidelines recommend that smokers under 65 who are classified as high risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms should be eligible for the vaccine in early stages of distribution, frustrating key workers who are lower in the priority line.

New Jersey and Mississippi are currently offering the vaccine to smokers under the age of 65, and several other states have counted smokers among the closest but haven't opened the phase yet, according to analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The move to give smokers priority over key workers such as teachers has been criticized, despite the phasing out of the US Centers for Disease Control federal guidelines, which put smoking on a list of conditions "that put smoking at increased risk for severe" Disease cause "virus that causes COVID-19. "

The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices advises smokers to get vaccinated during phase 1c. Ultimately, however, states have their own discretion as to how to authorize the vaccine to constituents.

"While ACIP is making recommendations, we understand that there will be some local adjustment. Gradual vaccine recommendations are intended to be fluid and non-restrictive by jurisdiction. It is not necessary to vaccinate all individuals in one phase before the next phase is initiated. Phases can overlap, "CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said in a statement to CNN.

Phase 1c includes people aged 65 to 74, people aged 16 to 64 with high-risk diseases, and other key workers. Phase 1a includes healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities, and Phase 1b includes those aged 75 and over and non-healthcare workers / essential workers.

"This ideally means reaching a sweet spot that will maximize getting the vaccine in your arms while keeping the priority groups in mind – especially given those people who are at a higher risk of complications from COVID-19 or because of that, their jobs are more exposed to the virus, "said Nordlund.

The teachers are still waiting in line for the vaccine

New Jersey educators are disappointed and frustrated at being pushed back into line, Sue McBride, president of the Bergen County Education Association, told CNN.

"From what I hear, it's just another round of frustration and another round of difficulty, you know, our educators and educational support professionals have work contact with the students and their colleagues in their school buildings," said McBride.

"The idea of ​​having a vaccine that hopefully will allow you to give some rest. And some hope and movement in a positive direction will be appreciated. You know, and a highly anticipated thing is going to happen." The New Jersey Educators Association continues to adhere to the need for vaccine access for educators to bring schools closer to normal.

"We have said from the start that educators should have priority access to vaccine. This is an important step towards a safer return to face-to-face learning. We have been in constant communication with state officials about educators' access to vaccine. We reiterated." give them the need to do whatever it takes to expedite that access, even given the Trump administration's revised federal guidelines and a slow federal roll-out of the actual vaccine, "NJEA director of communications Steve Baker told CNN.

Mississippi governor Tate Reeves this week announced an expansion of the rollout to include those with underlying medical conditions, including smokers, but said key workers like teachers are next.

"And be very clear to our first responders, our police officers, our firefighters and our teachers that you are on deck. The next time we have an update, I will assume that the vaccine will be announced and will be available to you" said Tate at a press conference Tuesday.

CNN did not immediately hear a statement from the Mississippi Department of Health.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has defended the decision, saying it would be no talking point if the federal government made more vaccine doses available to states.

"I understand, I understand the optics here, and that it can make political sense to target people who are used to smoking and who are now addicted," Murphy said at a news conference on Friday. "But at this point we are in a situation where we have to prioritize a limited, federally distributed vaccine dose based on medical facts, not political wishes. We have to save lives. And we have to protect our hospitals, by the way." from a patient push. "

Murphy added that "teachers are in a circle on deck" and all teachers under 65 with chronic illness are currently eligible for the vaccine.

Faculty will also be included in the next eligible sub-phase, New Jersey Department of Health spokeswoman Donna Leusner told CNN, but smoking is recognized by health officials as a health hazard for citizens.

"Yes, the problem has been brought up. Nicotine is one of the strongest addictions. Smoking puts people at greater risk of more serious illnesses. When a person who smokes gets COVID, they get sick much faster. Our goal is to get as many as possible." save lives as possible and promote vaccination among the highest risk groups. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the US and New Jersey (excluding COVID-19). We encourage everyone who smokes to quit quit, "Leusner said in a statement to CNN.

Related video: US Governors Annoyed by Faults in Vaccine Supply

Smoking and COVID-19 from a public health perspective

An estimated 2 million smokers in New Jersey make up the largest population to qualify for the vaccine under the list of underlying diseases, New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said at a news conference Wednesday.

Prioritizing smokers is a public health issue and not a judgment on personal choices, said Dr. Albert Rizzo, the chief medical officer of the American Lung Association.

"It's a population that we know is at risk, whether it was a good choice or a bad choice, to smoke. They are smokers, they are at risk of getting sick and needing medical care. If we do so can stay. " They are healthy, which helps society in general, "Rizzo told CNN.

Rizzo, a pulmonologist with the Christiana Care Health System in Delaware, says it is difficult to exclude all smokers in favor of smokers who have also been diagnosed with respiratory problems.

"We can make arguments on both sides, but we know that smoking itself, whether you have chronic bronchitis but no COPD or just coughing but no breathlessness, is still at risk," said Rizzo. "And I think most people scientifically say that when you breathe in tobacco fumes and nicotine and tar, all of these things inflame your airways and put you at risk, whether or not you have reached the point where you develop COPD."

The World Health Organization launched a "Commit to Quit" campaign in December to warn smokers around the world of the risks associated with the pandemic and to provide resources to encourage people to quit.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here