Smokers are now eligible for COVID vaccine in Illinois under Phase 1B Plus – NBC Chicago


Smoking is on the list of high-risk medical conditions and comorbidities that make someone eligible for the Illinois Phase 1B plus coronavirus vaccine.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, smoking is considered an “eligible condition” in the phase along with other conditions such as cancer, diabetes, obesity, pregnancy, and more.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that “being a current or former cigarette smoker increases the risk of serious illness from COVID-19.”

Illinois entered its Phase 1B Plus on February 25, increasing eligibility to include people with certain underlying diseases and comorbidities. The measure meant an additional 3.4 million people across Illinois became eligible for the vaccine.

Smoking was not on the list of eligible conditions when the phase was first announced, but was added when the state entered the phase last week.

To see how you can sign up for an appointment for the COVID vaccine in Illinois, click here.

The list of qualified high-risk medical conditions, which according to the state was subject to change, initially included:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Diabetes
  • Heart problems
  • Immunosuppressed status of a solid organ transplant
  • Obesity
  • The pregnancy
  • Lung disease
  • Sickle-cell anaemia

The expansion applied to those 16 and older who were not otherwise covered in the previous eligibility categories, the state said. That is in addition to healthcare workers and long-term care facility staff and residents who qualified in Phase 1A of the state’s rollout, as well as essential frontline workers and residents age 65 or older. more than were eligible at the beginning of Phase 1B.

Still, many counties in the Chicago area, including the city itself, have chosen not to expand eligibility, citing a lack of supply.

Here you will find everything you need to know about Phase 1B Plus, including who is and who is not in the extended phase.

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