Underlying Conditions for COVID-19 Vaccination Prioritization
Nevada State Immunization Program (NSIP) is using CDC guidance to identify the specific underlying health conditions causing a person to be at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, and eligible to move up in line earlier for vaccination than they otherwise would be.
As of March 15, those aged 55+ with underlying conditions became qualified for COVID-19 vaccination.
The following conditions are included in the state's underlying conditions prioritization list:
- Asthma (moderate to severe) - People with moderate to severe asthma may be at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. COVID-19 can affect your nose, throat, lungs (respiratory tract); cause an asthma attack; and possibly lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory disease.
- Cancer – Anyone currently undergoing treatment for cancer is at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. People with cancer who are treated with chemotherapy are at more risk because of their weakened immune system. An estimated 16,450 Nevadans were newly diagnosed with cancer in 2020 (American Cancer Society Facts and Figures, 2020).
- Cerebrovascular Disease, Hypertension, or High Blood Pressure - Having other cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease, such as hypertension (high blood pressure) or stroke, might increase your risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
- Chronic Kidney Disease – Anyone with Chronic Kidney Disease at any stage is at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 because they have a weakened immune system.
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), Cystic Fibrosis, Pulmonary Fibrosis, and other chronic lung diseases – Anyone with COPD or a related chronic lung disease at any stage is at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 because they specifically have very weak lung health, and COVID-19 is a respiratory disease (i.e., a disease that targets the lungs).
- Dementia - Having neurologic conditions such as dementia might increase your risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Older adults have the highest rates of dementia and are at higher risk for severe illness or death from COVID-19.
- Down Syndrome - Revisions were made on December 23, 2020, to reflect recent data supporting increased risk of severe illness among persons with Down syndrome from the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary heart disease, or cardiomyopathies – Anyone with any heart condition, including hypertension (high blood pressure) or stroke, could have an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 because they have weakened immune systems. In Nevada, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of disease and death among adults.
- Immunocompromised from blood or bone marrow transplant, solid organ transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines - Many conditions and treatments can cause a person to be immunocompromised or have a weakened immune system. These include having a solid organ transplant, blood, or bone marrow transplant; immune deficiencies; HIV with a low CD4 cell count or not on HIV treatment; prolonged use of corticosteroids; or use of other immune weakening medicines. Having a weakened immune system might increase your risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
- Liver Disease - Having chronic liver disease, such as alcohol-related liver disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and especially cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), might increase your risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- Overweight/Obese (BMI > 25 kg/m2) - Having an overweight status, defined as a BMI > 25 kg/m2 might increase your risk of severe illness from COVID-19. According to 2019 data from the Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System (BRFSS), approximately 30% of Nevada adults are considered obese based on BMI.
- Pregnancy - Based on what we know at this time, pregnant people are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant people. Additionally, there might be an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth, among pregnant people with COVID-19.
- Thalassemia (a blood disorder) - Having other hemoglobin disorders, like thalassemia, might increase your risk for severe illness from COVID-19 because you have a weakened immune system.
- Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes mellitus - People who have a blood sugar level (A1C) between 5.7% and 6.4% are in the prediabetes stage and anyone with an A1C level higher than 6.5% is indicated to have diabetes. Having Type 2 diabetes, specifically, weakens the immune system and puts the person at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Having Type 1 or gestational diabetes might increase the risk of severe illness. In 2019, approximately 11% of adults in Nevada reported being told by a health professional they have diabetes (excluding prediabetes and gestational diabetes).
- Sickle Cell Disease – Anyone who has been diagnosed with sickle cell disease is at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 because they have a weakened immune system.
- Smoking – Smoking is a risk factor for many chronic conditions and can increase a person’s risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Smoking weakens lung health and COVID-19 is a respiratory disease (i.e., a disease that targets the lungs). Both former (have smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime) and current (smoke cigarettes every day or some days) smokers face heightened risk. From the most recent data available (2016 BRFSS), approximately 17% of adults in Nevada reported smoking.
Individuals with any underlying medical condition (including those conditions that are NOT on the current list) should consult with their healthcare providers about personal risk factors and circumstances to determine whether extra precautions are warranted.