State prioritizes vaccine for smokers

– Teachers in New Jersey are furious at the rollout of immunization in the state, which prioritizes smokers over educators. Now that some 300,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been given to frontline healthcare workers, residents of long-term care homes, police and firefighters, New Jersey has started offering vaccines to everyone. 65 or over, anyone with pre-existing conditions, and – to the wrath of the teachers – anyone who smokes. “Smoking puts you at significant risk for adverse outcomes from COVID-19,” Department of Health commissioner Judy Persichilli told, which reports that there are 2 million smokers aged 16 to 64 years in the state. For some teachers, it’s like rewarding a bad habit. For them, smoking is optional, but putting their health on the line to return to class is not.

“I think putting smokers first as a group insulted educators” and “[we’re] rather pissed off, “Susan McBride, president of the Bergen County Education Association told She said the expansion of the deployment on Wednesday was particularly hurtful as teachers” were very apt to believe we were imminent in the hierarchy of vaccinees. Anthony Rosamilia, president of the Essex County Education Association, says it’s not just teachers who are upset. The “general public is not happy” that a person’s dangerous habit (read addiction) makes her eligible for a vaccine before someone chooses not to smoke, he says. But experts say it’s a smart move if the goal is to reduce hospitalizations, and those responsible for the health are not going back. “Our goal is to save as many lives as possible,” says a representative from the Department of Health, per NBC New York. (Read more stories on New Jersey.)

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