Patchwork of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility rules confounds chronically ill patients

Mackenzie Bean - Print  | 

COVID-19 vaccine eligibility rules for people with chronic health issues vary significantly among states, which has spurred confusion and frustration among patients with these conditions, reports The New York Times.

As of March 8, at least 37 states and Washington, D.C., allowed residents with certain health conditions that may put them at higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 to get the vaccine, according to a Times survey. But the conditions that qualify for vaccine eligibility vary greatly, even within specific states, according to the report.

For example, at least 30 states allow people with Type 2 diabetes to get vaccinated, but only 23 states offer the same for people with Type 1 diabetes.

The patchwork of eligibility guidelines in part stems from a lack of complete data about COVID-19 and its relationship with other medical conditions, according to the Times.

"We have a long history of doing risk-based recommendations based on lots of data," Grace Lee, MD, a member of the CDC's vaccine advisory committee and a pediatrician at Palo Alto, Calif.-based Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, told the publication. "The problem with Covid is, the information is coming in now, and it's different than it was even two months ago when we were deliberating about vaccine allocations."

In response, many advocacy groups have launched campaigns calling for state leaders to give higher priority to certain health issues.

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