Queensland residents classified as 'severely obese' are now eligible for priority COVID-19 vaccinations.
Queensland residents classified as 'severely obese' are now eligible for priority COVID-19 vaccinations.

‘Severely obese’ Queenslanders to have first grab at jab

Severely obese Queenslanders are eligible for priority COVID-19 vaccination with transplant and cancer patients.

Adults with a BMI of 35 or over - classified as "severely obese" can fill in an eligibility declaration form at their GP or vaccination clinic to join the phase 1b rollout. They qualify as adults with underlying medical conditions.

It is estimated that 460,000 Queenslanders - 12 per cent - are severely obese.

"It very much makes sense for those with serious weight problems to come forward for the vaccine. Obesity puts people at greater risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms, second only to old age," Dr Bruce Willett, Queensland chair of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners said.

New research from the University of Queensland and the Murdoch Children's Research Institute found obese patients were 73 per cent more likely to end up on a ventilator in intensive care. Of 7244 patients studied, 34 per cent were overweight and 30 per cent obese.


The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has recommended that Pfizer is preferred over AstraZeneca in adults aged under 50 years.

"If anyone under 50 comes to the clinic wanting the AstraZeneca as part of the 1b phase I usually advise them to wait for an alternative vaccine but if they insist I make them aware of the risks, which are very small, and will go ahead with the vaccine," Dr Willett said.

Those who qualify for the 1b AstraZeneca jab include healthcare workers not included in 1a, household contacts of quarantine and border workers, the elderly, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 55 and over and adults with an underlying medical condition or significant disability.

Diabetes is one of the conditions that puts people in the priority 1b rollout and Diabetes Queensland urges all with diabetes to get their vaccination after a NSW woman who died from blood clots after getting her vaccination had diabetes.

"First of all, I'd like to send my sympathy to the family and loved ones of the woman who has died. Our offices have only received one call asking about the death of the woman in NSW. I live with type 1 diabetes, I had the AstraZeneca vaccine last week, and I intend to have my follow-up injection," Sturt Eastwood, chief executive of Diabetes Queensland said. "We are monitoring the situation closely and will update our community if we receive new advice."

Professor Greg Johnson, chief executive of Diabetes Australia said it has not been confirmed that the woman's death was linked to the vaccine and NSW Health have not confirmed if the woman was living with diabetes.

ELIGIBLE UNDERLYING MEDICAL CONDITION FOR VACCINE

*Cancers and haematological diseases

*Transplant recipients

*Chronic inflammatory conditions

*Immunodeficiency conditions

*Chronic kidney, liver, lung, neurological conditions or diabetes

*Severe obesity

*Heart disease and blood pressure disorders

*Severe mental health conditions

NB. GPs will confirm the definitions of the conditions

Originally published as 'Severely obese' Queenslanders to have first bite at jab