Smokers in New Jersey can get COVID-19 vaccine before teachers, general public

Here’s the minister in charge of procurement here’s plan. Smokers aren’t mentioned but if your GP was of the opinion that your amoking made you a risk I’m sure they could certify that.

Teachers are the last of the “high risk/essential” groups.


OK but who would be in charge of identifying which people had the most physical contact with others? How would you implement such a system without creating more delay in a health crisis where time is of the essence?

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Also you then get to weigh those sins against factors like income inequality, race, and other factors that are correlated with a lot of these “sins”. In 21st century America, health is a luxury good that white people are best able to afford.

I will agree with the general sentiment that it seems we have too many and too finely divided categories that our logistical infrastructure can’t handle. Vaccine prioritization is a nice idea but it shouldn’t stand in the way of actually giving out vaccines.


It does if the federal government is going to play grabass for the last 2 months and

  1. Majorly play political favorites with who gets the vaccines


  1. Be so incompetent that even the administration’s favorite good-boy red states still get extremely limited supply and have a lot of stuff sent to the wrong place/late/ruined.

People from Group A have a 50% chance of dying if they catch the virus.
People from Group B have a 5% chance of dying if they catch the virus.

If you don’t vaccinate people from Group A first, more people will die from the virus.

Plus opportunity cost when it comes to hospital beds and all that. Just vaccinating people without prioritising by risk will kill people.


This argument would make more sense if hospital capacity wasn’t limited. Smokers being hospitalized will contribute to hospital overwhelming, which increases bad outcomes for all medical emergencies. Unfortunately, in the US, we find ourselves in a situation where both infection risk and complication risk must be addressed in the vaccine rollout in order to avoid increased danger for ordinary folks who might get in car accidents, have burst appendixes, or suffer heart attacks.


This is a good thing. Smokers regularly exhale, maskless near doors that everyone uses and/or around other smokers. The vaccine isn’t a prize, it’s a tool to stop the spread of the virus.


Smokers, taken as a group, and like other high risk groups, take up proportionately more room in an ICU than people not in those groups. I’d rather they get the shots so there’s room in the hospital. Would you prefer to die in a hallway without a ventilator?

You can say they put themselves in the high risk group but your righteousness won’t keep you alive. And no, I’m not a smoker and I hate smoking.

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Sure, if the probabilities are uniform in each group and there is a big gap in the mortalities like your example. But real groups have diverse and overlapping risk profiles. e.g. Former smoker turned health nut, non-smoker living in mold-filled apartment.

Parsing into groups (rigidly) can also have undesirable consequences:

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How in the hell are they supposed to verify who is a smoker and who is not? Do they go through your pockets to make sure you’ve got a pack of Camels on you before administering the vaccine? Can people take up smoking to jump in line on vaccination?

And the most important question of all: Does it have to be tobacco or can you smoke anything?


Have you spent any time around smokers? There is a whole section of cosmetic products aimed at hiding the signs of smoking.


Once we get to the point where everyone being vaccinated is roughly the same low risk in terms of consequences of infection (ie adults under 65 without underlying conditions) then you need some way to decide who in this large group gets it first.

Most doses should be distributed for free, either at random or using some semi-random mechanism like last digit of SSN (not alphabetical order, that would favor some ethnic groups over others). But I can imagine a situation where, frex, someone has a job offer in a foreign country that won’t let them in unless they’re vaccinated.

In the same way as you can pay more (AFAIK in the vast majority of countries, not just the US) to get a passport faster if you need to travel urgently for work, there should be some way for people with a genuine life/work-related need to get the vaccine ahead of others in their risk group. And I don’t think it’s immoral to charge these people something to cover administration costs of this scheme and discourage those who don’t need it from using it.

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See? The tobacco companies were right all along – smoking is good for you.

Nice to see that, as usual, Boingers get it.

This kind of story is clickbait because it sounds “so unfair”. Also the criteria is soft and people will cheat and lie and jump the line and and and WHO CARES.

All that matters is speed. The most minimal and easy prioritizing is being applied because speed is what will save lives. There will be some waste and some cheaters but it doesn’t fucking matter. Get it to the most people as fast as possible, loosely in the order that will slow the virus the fastest. People complaining that the criteria aren’t high resolution enough are way underappreciating what a slow bureaucratic mess such criteria create. Many epidemiologists are saying we already have too many criteria. The US’ distribution has been very slow so far.

Everybody will get it in the end. Leave your finely tuned morality at the door, k thx.


Well said.

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generally speaking, the people who are most vulnerable are the least likely to spread it, and vice versa

just get it out there, there will be more tomorrow


It wouldn’t be too hard to produce a model that incorporates things like sliding scales and categorical variables – I expect the people who study these things already have such models – but policymakers like things simple. By my state’s criteria I could jump well forward in the queue if I move my birthdate up a couple of months or gain 5 pounds. It is rather irritating. (At least my campus is still letting us teach remotely…not like places like UFL, which is not only requiring in-person teaching but also issuing an app to students so that they can rat out their professors who try to run some classes online.)


After Vaccine Goes Unused or Is Even Thrown Out


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