The makers of two promising coronavirus vaccine candidates have now applied for emergency approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, meaning the first Americans could receive the long-awaited jab as early as December.
But an important question remains: Who will be the first to receive the vaccine?
While health care workers and the elderly have been reportedly eyed as the first in line, a new report suggests that obese Americans could also be prioritized.
Advisers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are slated to meet Tuesday to discuss who will be the first to receive the vaccine, with obese Americans, who are at an increased risk for severe illness should they contract the novel coronavirus, now being possibly considered as a priority, according to a report from The Washington Post.
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“Obesity is an underlying health condition that makes people susceptible to the most severe symptoms of COVID-19. Obesity is linked to several additional health conditions, like Type 2 Diabetes and hypertension, which are also underlying factors that put people at risk,” Dr. David Buchin, an obesity specialist in New York, told Fox News.
People who are obese, which accounts for about 70 million Americans and 100 million others who are overweight, generally have a lower lung capacity and they are at higher risk for cardiac arrest, and the novel coronavirus can cause harm to the heart and lungs, Bunchin said.
“We saw a disproportionate number of people who were overweight require hospitalization or receive intensive care and a nearly 50% greater chance of death from the coronavirus,” he added.
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As for those with obesity receiving the coronavirus vaccine first, Buchin said the possible move could “prevent serious health complications and death for those with obesity.”
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“Secondly, it would reduce [the] burden on our health care system if those at-risk Americans receive the [vaccine] because they would avoid hospitalization and intensive care while battling this pandemic altogether,” he said. “We are seeing [a] strain on our hospitals and health care systems caused by mass hospitalizations, and this would be one way to keep beds open and reduce [the] burden on the system.”