Should I get the vaccine right now?
February 24, 2021 7:39 AM   Subscribe

My BMI technically allows me to get the vaccine now, but should I?

So NY just opened up registration for those who have the 'co-morbidity' of having over 30 BMI, and a vaccine location just opened up near me serving only a few surrounding zipcodes where I live in Brooklyn. I am technically right at a BMI of 30.

They are serving these specific zipcodes bc they are underserved, under-vaccinated, higher risk areas.

I myself am actually rather healthy (though obviously I could drop a few pounds, but otherwise I don't have any weight-related health issues), do not work in any high-risk employment (I've been WFH since March 2020), have the privilege of being able to limit myself and others to exposure, and have no other co-morbidities.

Even though appointments opened up a few days ago, there are still hundreds available, but is it ethical for me to get one when there are thousands of people in my area at a higher risk?

If there were a mad rush on appointments I would definitely step back and wait, but if they are so available, should I go? I dunno, I feel weird about it. If it weren't for my BMI, I would 100% be at the very back of the line.

posted by greta simone to Health & Fitness (47 answers total)
Best answer: YES! The more people vaccinated, the better for everyone.
posted by Jess the Mess at 7:40 AM on February 24, 2021 [58 favorites]

Best answer: Don't overthink it. Just go and get it. If we sorted everyone into strict order of risk, nobody would ever get vaccinated.
posted by pipeski at 7:41 AM on February 24, 2021 [39 favorites]

Best answer: yes
posted by thelonius at 7:41 AM on February 24, 2021 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Do it. The single best thing that you personally can do right now is get vaccinated because the more people are vaccinated, the sooner the pandemic ends. You personally do not have the power to magic a dose you are eligible for into the arm of someone higher-risk. Even worse, you not doing it doesn't mean that someone higher-risk will get it - it's most likely to mean that the appointment slots will go unfilled.

What we need now are vaccines in arms. If you can contribute to that, do it.
posted by medusa at 7:41 AM on February 24, 2021 [17 favorites]

Best answer: Yes
posted by warriorqueen at 7:42 AM on February 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: of course!! Let's end this thing.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:44 AM on February 24, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Remember that there are genetic things that predispose people to serious illness - they're only starting to dig into this, but I saw two publications only this morning. You don't know if you have one of those without genetic testing, since they're not straightforwardly linked to other health issues. Get the vaccine if you can get it.
posted by Frowner at 7:45 AM on February 24, 2021 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Get the dang vaccine. It's not just good for you; it's good for everyone around you.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:46 AM on February 24, 2021 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Especially since there are so many appointments available, definitely do it! And on some small level, more willing people getting vaccinated means more data or anecdata to reassure hesitant people that the vaccines are safe.
posted by needs more cowbell at 7:48 AM on February 24, 2021 [5 favorites]

Best answer: You qualify to get it, so get it!

(I've seen people ask this question on twitter a few times, and one of the answers that really struck me this one pointing out that medical fatphobia alone could mean that someone with a high BMI ends up with a worse outcome - particularly if they end up with Long Covid.)
posted by scorbet at 7:57 AM on February 24, 2021 [12 favorites]

Best answer: Get the vaccine. More people getting vaccinated will help those who can't or won't.
posted by kimberussell at 7:57 AM on February 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You are basically the female version of my roommate, who has had ABSOLUTELY NO hesitation about signing up for a vaccine. His thinking is that he will now be able to get his own groceries as opposed to forcing an Instacart worker to expose themselves further. Especially if there are so many openings - I think if there are multiple options for appointments, then that's a sign that the competition for vaccines isn't as high. Also, when he was looking, he noticed that 90% of the spaces offering the vaccine actually stated they were making older people a priority, so he avoided appointments at those locations (he's in his 30s).

Adding the additional suggestion that he's also getting a quick physical before his appointment so he can have medical paperwork in hand in case someone there asks him to prove that he has been officially diagnosed with a co-morbidity.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:01 AM on February 24, 2021 [9 favorites]

Best answer: The BMI issue with regards to COVID, at least when I last looked into it, seemed to somehow be about the extra weight itself, not whether the individual generally has issues related to the weight or is healthy overall. I am well aware that such a narrative is suspiciously in line with what they're always telling us about weight/fat, but the data did seem consistent.
posted by teremala at 8:05 AM on February 24, 2021

Best answer: Adding that we've realized that my having to go out of the house to frequent physical therapy appointments is probably adding to his risk in a slight way (everyone at my PT office is very strict about Covid safety, and everyone there's been vaccinated as well, but we're assuming any time either one of us steps out the door it's a slight risk), and so he's getting the vaccine to protect himself even from THAT. If you get vaccinated, you will reduce the likelihood that someone you come into contact with could turn you into a spreader of the virus, and that in and if itself will help your community.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:06 AM on February 24, 2021

Best answer: Yes, get that vaccine! For all the reasons stated above and also, unfortunately, this one.
posted by saladin at 8:07 AM on February 24, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I know the location you are referring to. At that specific location, with the zip code eligibility constraints currently in place, the problem is demand, not supply. (Not that you need a reason beyond YES, you are eligible, go for it!)
posted by thejoshu at 8:08 AM on February 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I say get it and if you are involved in any neighborhood online groups to encourage those in your zip to get it and talk about your experience and how great it is. Help get the word out!
posted by amanda at 8:14 AM on February 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Please get the vaccine. For your peace of mind, to boost the numbers at your vaccine center, to be a visible person that others can see getting vaccinated, for all the people you come in contact with and all the people they come in contact with.
posted by bilabial at 8:20 AM on February 24, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Joining the chorus of "100% yes absolutely get it"
posted by goodbyewaffles at 8:32 AM on February 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yes. The system is imperfect but broadly just and sound. When the health department says it's your turn, let them do their jobs, which include telling you it's your turn. Get it done to protect your neighbors.
posted by latkes at 8:36 AM on February 24, 2021 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Get the vaccine!
posted by esoterrica at 8:40 AM on February 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: BMI is shitty, racist and generally a fucked-up system that doesn't work. Please consider this your chance to actually use it for good and benefit from fatphobia. (Also, I mean, all the really good reasons everyone else gives! Because they are better people than I am!)
posted by kalimac at 8:46 AM on February 24, 2021 [17 favorites]

Best answer: Get it and think of it as reparations for all the other, shitty uses of BMI that you've had to deal with and will probably continue to have to deal with.

Seriously: I know so many people who are second-guessing whether they should get the vaccine when they're eligible. My father is 75, and he was worried that it was unfair that he, a healthy 75-year-old, was eligible when less-healthy 74-year-olds weren't. And it's all kind of arbitrary, which I think is unavoidable. But basically, if everyone overthinks it, then most people will think their way out of getting the vaccine, and that's not good. When your local health authority says your eligible, you should sign up to get it.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:52 AM on February 24, 2021 [11 favorites]

Best answer: I too was struggling with this, but after some thought...yes. The more people vaccinated the better. Of course in Virginia, it's still a bit hard to get an appointment so I'm ready but....waiting.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 8:59 AM on February 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: More vaccinations equals more people who are safer, now and in the long run.
There are people who cannot take the shots who are counting on you to do your part.
Go, with blessings.
And remember -- wear a mask, wash your hands, watch your distance, in solidarity with those who will still be doing so when excess vaccines are available. Be the hero you need today.
posted by TrishaU at 9:03 AM on February 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yes. Not to sound harsh but as someone with a BMI much higher than yours I give you "permission" to go get vaccinated, they are offering it to you for a reason BMI is a significant factor in predicting the outcome, even being just overweight (25-30)can have an influence on outcomes if you get covid, please go and get the vaccination a soon as you can. Even if you weren't overweight and have an opportunity to get vaccinated please do it, you are not line jumping, they're offering it to you.
posted by wwax at 9:19 AM on February 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: From yesterday: the Ethicist thinks you should get it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:23 AM on February 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Yes yes yes. Like everyone else is saying, the goal is to get as many people vaccinated as possible. The quicker we can do it, the better. So if there are lots of appointments available, I wouldn't worry that you are cutting anyone in line. You cannot feel bad about the inefficiency of our government and health care system, and if they are telling that you are eligible, you are eligible. Do it!
posted by something_witty at 9:36 AM on February 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Another person chiming in to say get it!!
posted by lucy.jakobs at 9:38 AM on February 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The people making the distinctions are Public Health professionals who have reviewed the statistics carefully, and made their decisions accordingly. Some of the 70 year olds and firefighters and people who do admin work in hospitals would probably do fine if they got Covid, but the tiers are set up to get the vax out expeditiously. Go get vaxxed! Yay!
posted by theora55 at 9:44 AM on February 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Hello from a zip code near the new SE Queens site. The two sites that opened today will only be restricted to our zip codes for one week. Then they will be flooded with people from neighborhoods that are wealthier, whiter, and already more vaccinated. We are seeing signs that vaccination might aid greatly not just in avoiding severe illness but in slowing the spread as well. You'll be doing your neighbors a good turn and affirming the choice of putting the site where it is by being a person from your zip code who makes an appointment this week.

Also, the ease or difficulty in finding and making an appointment fluctuates daily. It seems like for our zip codes, this week and this week only, it's on the easy side. Don't doom your future self to a headache when you qualify now.
posted by lampoil at 9:47 AM on February 24, 2021 [9 favorites]

Best answer: Yes. I'll be getting it at the first opportunity on the theory that people way more educated on these matters are setting the criteria and why would I second guess those decisions. While that assumption is known to not be strictly true it is still barring overwhelming counter evidence the best to go on.
posted by Mitheral at 9:49 AM on February 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Epidemiologist says yes. Eligible is eligible, no need to question beyond that. There is no guilt in having access. You're helping us all by getting vaccinated.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 9:49 AM on February 24, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I did. I've had my first shot, will have my second in a couple of weeks. I'm in NJ. FYI, no one asked me to prove I was entitled to be there. My feeling is that the more people who get vaccinated the better; also that fat people are not treated well by the medical profession and it's way better if I don't get sick. Definitely do it!
posted by ceejaytee at 10:02 AM on February 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Yes. Get it. I am eligible due to a different co-morbidity and I'm getting it, despite the face that I have the privilege of working from home and having grocery delivery, etc. Eligible is eligible. Go forth and be vaccinated!
posted by bedhead at 10:02 AM on February 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Alright! Best answer to everyone! You have me convinced :) Scheduled for March 8!
posted by greta simone at 10:16 AM on February 24, 2021 [25 favorites]

Note that when I went for a different co-morbidity, they asked me to show documentation of the issue. So you might need to print out your height/weight from MyChart, or, if you can't, ask your doctor for a letter.
posted by praemunire at 10:40 AM on February 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

The short answer is: yes, for the herd immunity to take effect sooner. If not you, it's going to someone else, may as well be you.

FWIW, my father is 70+ and has COPD, and our local dispensaries ran out. He heard that the local primary hospital has them, so he went... and waited FOUR hours, but he got the 1st shot eventually.
posted by kschang at 11:03 AM on February 24, 2021

Get it. I say this as someone in Georgia who is still months away from being able to get it.
posted by heathrowga at 12:34 PM on February 24, 2021

“ Note that when I went for a different co-morbidity, they asked me to show documentation of the issue.“

Really? I wonder if not all the places administering the vaccine are on the same page with this stuff, or if I’m not understanding the situation correctly. I was worried about this myself, but then the author of this Ask helpfully sent me this information. Which makes sense, since not everyone has healthcare/the ability to get a doctor’s note. Is it not totally accurate?
posted by cakelite at 12:42 PM on February 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

My roommate (who is getting the vaccine for similar reasons) did also grumble at how unclear the documentation requirements were for "proving" co-morbidity. He was able to schedule a quick-and-dirty physical somewhere just so he could get the paperwork for safety's sake. But - the web site is indeed frustratingly unclear about what you need in terms of documentation.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:45 PM on February 24, 2021

So, I went to a NYC Health + Hospitals site. They asked me for documentation (MyChart printout of list of conditions was sufficient) and I heard them giving another guy a hard time for not having any. It sounded like they were genuinely ready to send him away. I do note that there is a self-certification/attestation listed among the acceptable options, but I wouldn't chance the staff understanding/accepting that unless I had to.
posted by praemunire at 1:06 PM on February 24, 2021

Seconding and meaning to highlight jenfullmoon's citing of the Ethicist column. To quote his reasoning: "The system has to be straightforward enough to be managed easily [...w]e don’t want to have to determine that people meet a dozen conditions before putting the vaccine into their arms: Doing so could slow down the rate of vaccination. [...] [Y]ou’re benefiting from a system that was decided on after considerable deliberation among democratically elected leaders and scientific experts."

Also this, as well.
posted by metabaroque at 3:38 PM on February 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Yes! I fall perhaps on the more critical side than most in terms of thinking that there are a lot of people right now delusively self-justifying antisocial behavior when it comes to vaccine priority, but I think if you're literally within an eligibility category without having to stretch-- as you are-- you should 100% get it.
posted by dusty potato at 4:01 PM on February 24, 2021

You should not feel guilty about getting it. I think you should get it.

If you feel like you need to contribute to the vaccine rollout because you are benefiting from it, consider using whatever means you are comfortable with to assist others in getting vaccinated. Your experience with the process will be of value to others.


- Help friends and family navigate the online signup for vaccination.
- offer to help with getting there, finding the right entrance, what to expect when they get there, etc. (you can do all this by phone)
- let others know you’ve gotten vaccinated and let them know you trust its safety.

I think there will be 3 stages to the vaccine rollout:
1: not enough vaccine
2: decent vaccine supply, but the logistics and personnel struggle to keep up with demand
3: medical people standing around waiting for people to show up to be vaccinated.

We are probably at 2 now, but 3 will be here soon enough. People will be more likely to get the shot if their friends and neighbours have too. Let them know.
posted by thenormshow at 4:53 PM on February 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

I don't think we should mess with the rollout plan by second-guessing. If they tell us it is time to get the shot, we should go get the shot.
posted by SageTrail at 9:47 PM on February 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

If this is further confirmation that "yes, you should" - when my roommate went for his pre-vaccination physical, he said that "listen, the only reason I'm here is in case I need backup for a Covid vaccination" and the doctor had noooooooooooooooo problem with that and practically got white-glove treatment at the doctor's office. Doctors want you to get this.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:05 AM on February 25, 2021

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