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Qualifying for COVID vaccine solely on BMI

pfeiferlindseypfeiferlindsey Member Posts: 92 Member Member Posts: 92 Member
To piggyback off the COVID vaccine debate...what are your thoughts on states vaccinating people who are classified as overweight or obese as defined by BMI?

For example....I have a BMI of 26. I am otherwise healthy 34 year old. On March 29, my state opens up eligibility to the next group which includes people who are overweight/obese. To give context here, my 55 year old mother with several severe health conditions who hasn't left her house in well over a year due to the pandemic will "qualify" at the same time as me.

It's easy for me, I'll be waiting until eligibility opens to the general populations. I don't deserve a vaccine because I'm carrying 10 extra pounds above my "ideal BMI". But, many people in the same situation as me won't wait.
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  • pfeiferlindseypfeiferlindsey Member Posts: 92 Member Member Posts: 92 Member
    BMI is associated with mortality with COVID although I was unaware that there were any states using the overweight category, vs obese. My state is opening up to BMI >40 this weekend, as well as some other health conditions, most in uncontrolled state (lung disease must be oxygen dependent). Then, there won't be another tier. Everyone 16-65 who isn't very ill or work in an essential profession will suddenly be eligible at the same time and I am sure it will be a mess. But in a smaller state, it sometimes makes sense to have large tiers so that the appointments fill and doses are not wasted. I think that is why Texas has been so open: they have a lot of folks opting out and they have a lot of rural areas. But in many places, it just creates a situation where the most tech savvy and those with the most free time end up at the front of the line, rather than those in need.

    I just double checked to be sure, and yes, my state will be opening to the below categories (out of a long list of over 20 conditions) on March 29. They said something like 2 million will become eligible.
    Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30-39 kg/m2)
    Overweight (BMI of 25-29 kg/m2)
    Severe Obesity (BMI 40 kg/m2 or more)

    Given that 64% of my state is overweight or obese, this pretty much opens it up to most everyone.
  • cmriversidecmriverside Member Posts: 31,130 Member Member Posts: 31,130 Member
    I agree that everyone who wants to be vaccinated should get it as soon as they can.

    Every arm that receives a vaccine is one less vector for the rest of us.

    There will be enough to go around.

    There is no easy way to prioritize this and from the very beginning it's been a case of having to make a bad decision out of a list of worse decisions.

    Just hang on. Wash hands, stay a meter apart, do the right thing as much as possible.
  • 33gail3333gail33 Member Posts: 571 Member Member Posts: 571 Member
    To piggyback off the COVID vaccine debate...what are your thoughts on states vaccinating people who are classified as overweight or obese as defined by BMI?

    For example....I have a BMI of 26. I am otherwise healthy 34 year old. On March 29, my state opens up eligibility to the next group which includes people who are overweight/obese. To give context here, my 55 year old mother with several severe health conditions who hasn't left her house in well over a year due to the pandemic will "qualify" at the same time as me.

    It's easy for me, I'll be waiting until eligibility opens to the general populations. I don't deserve a vaccine because I'm carrying 10 extra pounds above my "ideal BMI". But, many people in the same situation as me won't wait.

    Are you sure they are prioritizing a BMI of 26? That seems low. Here it is if your BMI is over 40.

    edited March 12
  • pfeiferlindseypfeiferlindsey Member Posts: 92 Member Member Posts: 92 Member
    33gail33 wrote: »
    To piggyback off the COVID vaccine debate...what are your thoughts on states vaccinating people who are classified as overweight or obese as defined by BMI?

    For example....I have a BMI of 26. I am otherwise healthy 34 year old. On March 29, my state opens up eligibility to the next group which includes people who are overweight/obese. To give context here, my 55 year old mother with several severe health conditions who hasn't left her house in well over a year due to the pandemic will "qualify" at the same time as me.

    It's easy for me, I'll be waiting until eligibility opens to the general populations. I don't deserve a vaccine because I'm carrying 10 extra pounds above my "ideal BMI". But, many people in the same situation as me won't wait.

    Are you sure they are prioritizing a BMI of 26? That seems low. Here it is if your BMI is over 40.

    From my state's DHS website:

    https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-about.htm

    Beginning March 29, individuals age 16 and older with certain medical conditions that have a greater risk of severe infection from COVID-19 will be eligible. The decision is based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and supported by Wisconsin’s medical experts.

    Eligibility includes individuals with the following conditions:

    Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
    Cancer
    Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
    Chronic kidney disease
    COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
    Cystic fibrosis
    Down syndrome
    Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
    Hypertension or high blood pressure
    Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant, blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
    Liver disease
    Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
    Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30-39 kg/m2)
    Overweight (BMI of 25-29 kg/m2)
    Pregnancy
    Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
    Severe Obesity (BMI 40 kg/m2 or more)
    Sickle cell disease
    Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus
    Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
  • 33gail3333gail33 Member Posts: 571 Member Member Posts: 571 Member
    33gail33 wrote: »
    To piggyback off the COVID vaccine debate...what are your thoughts on states vaccinating people who are classified as overweight or obese as defined by BMI?

    For example....I have a BMI of 26. I am otherwise healthy 34 year old. On March 29, my state opens up eligibility to the next group which includes people who are overweight/obese. To give context here, my 55 year old mother with several severe health conditions who hasn't left her house in well over a year due to the pandemic will "qualify" at the same time as me.

    It's easy for me, I'll be waiting until eligibility opens to the general populations. I don't deserve a vaccine because I'm carrying 10 extra pounds above my "ideal BMI". But, many people in the same situation as me won't wait.

    Are you sure they are prioritizing a BMI of 26? That seems low. Here it is if your BMI is over 40.

    From my state's DHS website:

    https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-about.htm

    Beginning March 29, individuals age 16 and older with certain medical conditions that have a greater risk of severe infection from COVID-19 will be eligible. The decision is based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and supported by Wisconsin’s medical experts.

    Eligibility includes individuals with the following conditions:

    Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
    Cancer
    Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
    Chronic kidney disease
    COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
    Cystic fibrosis
    Down syndrome
    Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
    Hypertension or high blood pressure
    Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant, blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
    Liver disease
    Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
    Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30-39 kg/m2)
    Overweight (BMI of 25-29 kg/m2)
    Pregnancy
    Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
    Severe Obesity (BMI 40 kg/m2 or more)
    Sickle cell disease
    Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus
    Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)

    Interesting - yeah that seems a bit extreme. I would, and did, take the vaccine as soon as I was allowed to get it personally. Looks like my 28 BMI would qualify me in your state. That surprises me.
    edited March 12
  • 33gail3333gail33 Member Posts: 571 Member Member Posts: 571 Member
    Here is our risk factor list (this level hasn't started yet here). It's a little more strict. High blood pressure doesn't even count unless you have "end organ damage" - but I don't know how they plan to monitor that kind of thing.


    Highest-risk (442,000)

    organ transplant recipients
    hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients
    people with neurological diseases in which respiratory function may be compromised
    haematological malignancy diagnosed <1 year
    kidney diseases eGFR<30

    High-risk (292,000)

    Obesity (BMI>40)
    Other treatments causing immunosuppression
    intellectual or developmental disabilities

    At-risk (2.2 million)

    immune deficiencies and autoimmune disorders
    stroke/cerebrovascular disease
    dementia
    diabetes
    liver disease
    all other cancers
    respiratory diseases
    spleen problems
    heart disease
    hypertension with end organ damage
    diagnosis of mental disorder
    substance use disorders
    thalassemia
    pregnancy
    immunocompromising health conditions
    other disabilities requiring direct support care in the community.
  • penguinmama87penguinmama87 Member, Premium Posts: 256 Member Member, Premium Posts: 256 Member
    I plan on getting the vaccine but I do waffle about when. I do technically qualify now based on BMI in my state, but I'm also in my 30s and have no other factors that place me at high risk. I stay at home with my kids and while I do go out sometimes, I feel like it would be courteous to let other people go in front of me. Our state has had supply issues so I think that plays a role in my thinking - if it were easy for anyone to get one as soon as they were qualified, I'd probably go ahead and do it, but the fact that they're hard to get sometimes makes me more hesitant.
  • cwolfman13cwolfman13 Member Posts: 38,994 Member Member Posts: 38,994 Member
    I plan on getting the vaccine but I do waffle about when. I do technically qualify now based on BMI in my state, but I'm also in my 30s and have no other factors that place me at high risk. I stay at home with my kids and while I do go out sometimes, I feel like it would be courteous to let other people go in front of me. Our state has had supply issues so I think that plays a role in my thinking - if it were easy for anyone to get one as soon as they were qualified, I'd probably go ahead and do it, but the fact that they're hard to get sometimes makes me more hesitant.

    In my state, we are texted an event code when a shot is available to us individually...we can't just show up somewhere because we fall into a specific group that is currently qualified...we have to have that text and event code and appointment from the DOH. This has pretty much squashed any kind of "free for all" and masses of people showing up for vaccinations...no event code, no shot.
  • penguinmama87penguinmama87 Member, Premium Posts: 256 Member Member, Premium Posts: 256 Member
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    I plan on getting the vaccine but I do waffle about when. I do technically qualify now based on BMI in my state, but I'm also in my 30s and have no other factors that place me at high risk. I stay at home with my kids and while I do go out sometimes, I feel like it would be courteous to let other people go in front of me. Our state has had supply issues so I think that plays a role in my thinking - if it were easy for anyone to get one as soon as they were qualified, I'd probably go ahead and do it, but the fact that they're hard to get sometimes makes me more hesitant.

    In my state, we are texted an event code when a shot is available to us individually...we can't just show up somewhere because we fall into a specific group that is currently qualified...we have to have that text and event code and appointment from the DOH. This has pretty much squashed any kind of "free for all" and masses of people showing up for vaccinations...no event code, no shot.

    I think that kind of system makes a lot of sense. On a lark I went through and found some of the locations, but then had to go through each place to schedule an appointment individually, only to be told at the end of the scheduling process "sorry nothing available! Please try again." No option for a waiting list, no nothing. I'd much rather sign up once for a list, and then get called once it's available, then waste a lot of time combing through every place again and again just hoping that this time they'll have a spot.
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 7,083 Member Member Posts: 7,083 Member
    I plan on getting the vaccine but I do waffle about when. I do technically qualify now based on BMI in my state, but I'm also in my 30s and have no other factors that place me at high risk. I stay at home with my kids and while I do go out sometimes, I feel like it would be courteous to let other people go in front of me. Our state has had supply issues so I think that plays a role in my thinking - if it were easy for anyone to get one as soon as they were qualified, I'd probably go ahead and do it, but the fact that they're hard to get sometimes makes me more hesitant.

    I feel this way too, although I don't think I'm technically eligible for any reason anyway. Where I live, it's not possible right now, unless you are in certain zip codes that are being focused on for equity reasons, to get vaccinated due to an underlying condition most places--most are still on age/frontline facing workers only, and those few places that do have underlying conditions are impossible to get appointments at. But in other parts of the state they are doing underlying conditions and I know someone getting one due to being a former smoker and a variety of others (people in their 30s) who are doing similar. Their argument is that getting vaccinated is good for everyone, but in that I know lots of older (but not old enough) people who are following the rules and not trying to find a way to get a vaccination immediately but waiting our turns, I find it kind of annoying. Maybe I shouldn't, but I do. This is especially true if we then get scolded because getting vaccinated is a public duty and those getting vaccinated are helping others. I am planning to get vaccinated, I want to, I would today if I could under the actual rules where I live, but the state's (and city's) other message is it's bad and wrong (and overly privileged) to try to jump the line, and so I'm trying not to do that either, even if that means I guess I wait 'til the end (and get told I'm not as public spirited as those getting vaccinated as early as possible).

    For us, where they are open for those with "Eligible Conditions":
    Obesity [note: not overweight only, although apparently lots of places won't ask questions other than if you have a condition, another way people are gaming it in some cases]
    Diabetes
    Pulmonary Diseases
    Smoker or Former Smoker
    Heart Conditions
    Chronic Kidney Disease
    Cancer
    Solid Organ Transplant
    Sickle Cell Disease
    Pregnancy
    Persons with a Disability3 (Not otherwise covered in previous categories.)
  • cwolfman13cwolfman13 Member Posts: 38,994 Member Member Posts: 38,994 Member
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    I plan on getting the vaccine but I do waffle about when. I do technically qualify now based on BMI in my state, but I'm also in my 30s and have no other factors that place me at high risk. I stay at home with my kids and while I do go out sometimes, I feel like it would be courteous to let other people go in front of me. Our state has had supply issues so I think that plays a role in my thinking - if it were easy for anyone to get one as soon as they were qualified, I'd probably go ahead and do it, but the fact that they're hard to get sometimes makes me more hesitant.

    In my state, we are texted an event code when a shot is available to us individually...we can't just show up somewhere because we fall into a specific group that is currently qualified...we have to have that text and event code and appointment from the DOH. This has pretty much squashed any kind of "free for all" and masses of people showing up for vaccinations...no event code, no shot.

    I think that kind of system makes a lot of sense. On a lark I went through and found some of the locations, but then had to go through each place to schedule an appointment individually, only to be told at the end of the scheduling process "sorry nothing available! Please try again." No option for a waiting list, no nothing. I'd much rather sign up once for a list, and then get called once it's available, then waste a lot of time combing through every place again and again just hoping that this time they'll have a spot.

    It definitely helps things run a bit more smoothly...though it's not perfect by any means and because 1B is such a large group, there are a lot of people (particularly over 60/65) who are pretty miffed that others are getting vaccinated before them because 1B is such a large group. Teachers have largely been the priority of 1B since mid February...which have made teachers very happy and parents of students very happy (for the most part) because our kids get to go back to school April 5 full time in-person...but it's also pissed off people who don't have kids or any real skin in that game...particularly seniors.

    The other big issue we've had is that the whole system is predicated on getting online to register for the vaccine on the DOH website...at which point you provide your name, occupation and employer, any known health issues that put you at risk, etc. This is the only way you "get in line" for your event code for your shot...all fine and dandy, but there are a lot of seniors who aren't either tech savvy enough to do this or to do this on their own...or, in many cases, think they can just go see their Dr. and get the shot like they would for the flu and don't/didn't understand that they needed to pre-register. So now the state is getting a lot of complaints about, for example, people like me "jumping to the front of the line"...when in fact, I registered back in early December.

    All in all, it's worked fairly well though as imperfect as it is...it looks like we'll have the entire state vaccinated in regards to anyone who wants one by mid to late April.
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