Early eligibility for COVID vaccine brings feelings of ‘shame’ and ‘guilt’ to some who meet BMI requirement, are considered “obese”

When states began to announce body mass index, known as BMI, would be a factor in determining early eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines, some who meet the requirement have expressed feelings of guilt.

“As someone who does have a high BMI and is considered by the medical field as obese, I felt a lot of complicated feelings about being a part of this group and once again being told that because of my weight, I’m unhealthy,” Sydney Greene, a 24-year-old living in Austin, Texas, said.

Nirit Pisano, a licensed clinical psychologist and chief psychology officer at Cognovi Labs, said she is seeing an increase in “fat talk” that is wreaking havoc on self-esteem.

Still, Pisano advises people who are eligible but feeling apprehensive to “keep in mind the big picture” and “go out and get vaccinated.”

“Realize (BMI) is just one piece … that gives you access to this vaccine, which is an important part of protecting yourself,” she said. “This is just one small item that happens to give you access here, but doesn’t define the full picture of who you are.”

SOURCE: USA Today – Sara M. Moniuszko