People with certain medical conditions could receive COVID-19 vaccine first

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – People who have certain medical conditions could be prioritized the COVID-19 vaccine.

Underlying health conditions, such as heart or lung disease, can increase your risk of developing dangerous symptoms if you become infected with the coronavirus.

Severe illness from COVID-19 is defined as hospitalization, admission to the ICU, intubation or mechanical ventilation, or even death. Depending on what type of underlying condition you have it could speed up your eligibility for the vaccine.

Those conditions include cancer, obesity, asthma, kidney disease, diabetes, among many others.

As the state continues to vaccinate healthcare workers and first responders in its phase one distribution plan, it’s not yet known how the department of public health is going to verify or ask community members to represent whether they have co-morbid conditions.

Dr. Robert Roose at Mercy Medical Center says there are ways to help those who need the vaccine sooner.

“One of the ways that we can do this as a hospital system for example like Mercy Medical Center is we can look at our own patients that we take care of in our own clinics, or are contracted with us or their health insurance, and with those rosters, we would know which conditions people have and then send them invitations to schedule within a particular phase,” said Roose.

By April, Massachusetts expects to start offering shots to all residents age 16 and older which is about 2.7 million residents.

In Massachusetts, more than 476,000 doses have been distributed, more than 204,000 people have actually received the first shot therefore only about 43 percent of the doses delivered to Massachusetts have been injected so far.

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