High-risk Georgians relieved to be in next round of vaccines eligibility while others feel left out

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — More Georgians will now be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting next week.

On Wednesday, Gov. Brian Kemp expanded the criteria to include all adults 55 and over and people with any one of a long list medical conditions.

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Many people might be surprised to know that they are included in the next round of vaccines while others feel left out.

It’s been a long year in quarantine for Meghana Deshpande.

“My husband and I have been working from home for a year now,” she said.

Deshpande has a rare condition that affects the arteries and that means catching the coronavirus could put her life at risk.

“We have been pretty much been on strict quarantine and trying to be as safe as possible,” she told Channel 2′s Justin Wilfon.

But soon, Deshpande and her husband should be able to spend more time outside their Johns Creek home. She will be eligible for the next round of COVID-19 vaccines that starts on Monday.

“There’s certainly light at the end of the tunnel. it certainly feels like that.”

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Along with those with medical conditions, the governor also announced any adult 55 and over can get the vaccine as well.

“Make no mistake. This is your opportunity in these days ahead to get in the que to go get your vaccine” he said.

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Medically fragile Georgians eligible to get the vaccine will include those with asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart conditions and those considered overweight along with many other conditions.

“So you see, it’s very broad, the breadth of eligibility has really grown considerably, and I think many, many Georgians 16 through adulthood will now be eligible,” Georgia Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey said.

But for now other groups still feel left out like some essential workers.

Gwinnett County grocery store employee Teddy Murphy said it’s time for him and his coworkers, to get their shots, too.

“As grocery store workers, we don’t really have the option to work from home or anything like that. We have to be in the stores,” Murphy said. “Grocery stores never really closed down throughout this pandemic, so I really thought that me and anybody else who works in this industry would have been eligible by now.”

One part of the new eligibility that people have questions about is what is considered overweight. The state’s criteria says you would be eligible if you have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher, which is what the CDC uses to define as overweight.

But that opens the door for many people who might think they’re eligible for a shot.

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