PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – People with certain pre-existing conditions, in addition to those over 65, fall into Pennsylvania’s currently eligible 1A COVID vaccination group.
Three out of four Americans have a risk factor for severe COVID-19.READ MORE: Pine-Richland Head Football Coach Eric Kasperowicz And Entire Coaching Staff Will Not Return In Fall
Because of asthma, Mike Chiappinelli wanted to get immunized.
“If you have pre-existing conditions it’s definitely important to get vaccinated,” Chiappinelli said.
A heart condition had Madysen Stauffer concerned.
“I was worried because I knew what happens when you get it, especially with my case,” Stauffer said.
“I didn’t know where I stood on the totem pole at first because of my age.
“I asked and I had appointments, and they’re like ‘yeah, try to get it as fast as you can.’
By CDC guidelines, as many as 75% of American adults have a risk factor, such as obesity, cancer, smoking, lung or kidney disease or pregnancy, among others.
“The folks with cancer, older age, heart disease, if you have that combination then it’s a very scary thing to get COVID,” Allegheny Health Network family medicine physician Dr. Amy Crawford-Faucher says.
A study in the Journal of Preventive Cardiology points to an especially high risk in people with heart problems, stroke, and high blood pressure.READ MORE: Johnson & Johnson Vaccine To Remain In Limbo While Officials Seek More Evidence
“If your heart and its associated vessels aren’t healthy, that just puts you at higher risk of not being able to tolerate the inflammation that can come along with a COVID infection,” Crawford-Faucher says.
The risk is also high for people with low income and low education.
“Because of overall poorer health status, for a whole variety of reasons, tend to get these diseases at younger ages,” Crawford-Faucher says.
With so many people at risk, this could make vaccine prioritization hard.
“It has been very challenging,” Crawford-Faucher says. “Some states are picking different priorities than others, and I think it’s partly how you parse that data.”
At her vaccine clinics, there is a system.
“If you had two or more of these risk factors, we prioritized reaching out to those patients first,” she says.
Mike has less anxiety after getting his vaccine and wishes more people with risk factors could, too.
“A lot of friends and family fall into that list,” he said.MORE NEWS: Multiple Ballot Questions Face Voters In This Year's Primary
He would like to see the vaccine rollout for everyone.