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Smokers Can Jump Vaccine Line in New Jersey

Tracy Davenport Tracy Davenport
25th January 2021
Smokers Can Jump Vaccine Line in New Jersey
It is one of two states to allow smokers early vaccination (Getty Images).

The Claim

New Jersey smokers will be able to jump the COVID-19 vaccine line.

Emerging story

According to social media users, New Jersey will be giving smokers in that state early access to the COVID-19 vaccination. 

Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar has discovered that according to the DailyMail.com, the state of New Jersey is giving smokers of any age access to the COVID-19 vaccine along with over 65 year olds and people with underlying health conditions. According to the NewYorkTimes.com, New Jersey is one of only two states that has included smoking among the high-risk medical conditions that make people eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

In order to accelerate the vaccine rollout, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that states should expand the pool of people who have priority access. According to BusinessInsider.com, the decision will bump the state's two million cigarette smokers to the front of the vaccine line, alongside people with other high-risk medical conditions, including obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

According to NJ.com, many teachers are upset that smokers were granted access to the vaccine before educators. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, pushed back against criticism that the state included roughly two million smokers in the big expansion of coronavirus vaccine eligibility that started last week, while leaving out some groups of essential workers like teachers: “I get it. I understand the optics here and that attacking folks who took up the habit of smoking and who are now addicted may be politically expedient,” Murphy said. “But at this time we are stuck in a position where we have to prioritize our limited vaccine doses based on medical fact and not political want,” he said. “We cannot lose sight of a critical medical fact that this is a respiratory virus. Smoking like other chronic and medical conditions put someone at a higher risk. In this, we are in agreement with the CDC guidance.”

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