Find Your BMI: It now factors into COVID-19 vaccine eligibility

Published: Mar. 11, 2021 at 7:15 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - On Thursday, the Dept. of Health Services unveiled new guidance for determining who would be eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine when eligibility expanded later this month.

Unlike previous rounds, which were determined primarily by age or occupation, this latest one relies solely on medical history, more specifically if someone has a medical condition associated with a higher risk of severe illness if they were to contract COVID-19.

To qualify under this latest expansion, an individual would have to have at least one of the 20 medical conditions included in a list released by the agency on Thursday. DHS estimated more than two million people in Wisconsin would qualify.

Three of the conditions listed are linked to Body Mass Index (BMI), a statistic often cited when determining if someone is overweight or obese. With the new metrics, anyone with a BMI over 25 kg/m2 would be eligible to receive the vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a tool to help people estimate their BMI by entering their height and weight. It defines a BMI between 25 and 30 as “overweight” while anything over 30 as “obese.” Additionally, for DHS’ listings, a number over 40 is considered “severe obesity.”

The full list of medical conditions that would determine if someone is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine is available here.

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