Smokers 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 coronavirus vaccine under Illinois’ Phase 1B plus.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, smoking is considered an “eligible condition” under the phase alongside other conditions like cancer, diabetes, obesity, pregnancy and more.

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

Illinois entered its Phase 1B Plus on Feb. 25, increasing eligibility to include people with certain underlying conditions and comorbidities. The move 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 as the state entered the phase last week.

For a look at how you can sign up for a COVID vaccine appointment in Illinois, click here.

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

  • Cancer
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Condition
  • Immunocompromised State from a Solid Organ Transplant
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Pulmonary Disease
  • Sickle Cell Disease

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

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

Here’s everything you need to know about Phase 1B Plus, including who is and isn’t under the expanded phase.