New Jersey Allowing Smokers Vaccine 1st Bc They're More Likely to Get Sick

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As the vaccine for COVID-19 rolls out, somewhat haphazardly at time it seems, New Jersey has made a decision regarding the next phase of rollout that has some people upset.

The US's Health and Human Resources Secretary Alex Azar announced earlier this week that states should begin expanding the list of potential candidates for the vaccine to Americans between the ages of 16 - 64 who have certain underlying health issues that likely increase the risk of becoming extremely ill from the coronavirus.

New Jersey governor Phil Murphy took that advice, and has expanded the types of residents who can now get the vaccine. Among those included are cigarette smokers, alongside those with obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

"Nicotine is one of the most powerful addictions. Smoking put individuals at higher risk for more severe disease. If an individual who smokes gets COVID, they get sicker much quicker," says Donna Leusner, director of communications for the state department of health.

Apparently that news has not gone over too well in the state, with an estimated population of 2 million smokers living in New Jersey. The move puts those who smoke ahead of teachers and other essential workers.

In total, the next phase of vaccine rollout now covers approximately half of the state's nealy 9 million residents.

The state so far has administered around 288,000 doses, or to around 6.5% of their eligible population. The state so far has only been allocated 731,000 doses.

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