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Does TBI qualify as an increased risk for covid-19?

Should TBI patients be categorized in the same group as others with underlying medical conditions in relation to vaccination priority?

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Division Director PM&R

Answer transcribed from Brightway's interview with Dr. Thomas Franz:

It really will depend on the severity of the brain injury and the associated conditions.

Someone with a concussion that primarily has perhaps trouble focusing or chronic headaches or for balance problems would not have the type of predisposing medical condition that would make them particularly susceptible to severe forms of covid-19.

However, someone where their brain injury affected their swallowing who chronically aspirated (meaning had food and water going down into their lungs) where they're chronically compromised in terms of their respiratory status very definitely would be at higher risk.

So it would really depend on the individual but many people with this would be in a high risk category and should be in the higher categories for getting the vaccine.

Each state is handling vaccine distribution differently. Certainly, the elderly have been given the priority with good reason so I would check the resources at your state's department of health or contact your local physician who may be able to facilitate getting you access or being able to certify that you have a pulmonary condition related to a brain injury that makes you a higher risk.

Unfortunately, you know this rollout has been problematic, to say the least. Although there are many things where we do want to devolve power to the states it probably hasn't served us well in this particular instance.