As issues persist with the supply of COVID-19 vaccine to New Jersey, only certain groups are eligible to get the shot, including those with certain underlying medical issues including smokers.

The reason is that COVID-19 attacks the respiratory system, putting them at higher risk per CDC guidelines being followed by the state. Healthcare workers, law enforcement, residents of long-term care facilities and anyone age 16-64 who would like to receive the vaccine are also eligible.

“I’m over 64. Boy, am I over 64,” Jim Gearhart said during the latest weekly Jim Gearhart podcast and Facebook Live show, presented every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. on He said he would not fit into any of the other categories because he quit smoking 33 years ago.

Podcast partner Bob Williams joked that as a transplant patient with a compromised immune system, he’s in the same priority category as someone who is overweight and smokes two packs a day.

Chiming in on the comments of the Facebook Live video, Joan asked if she should start smoking to get prioritized for the vaccine. On the other hand, considering New Jersey is relying on the honor system, commenter Ria said no one has to ever touch a cigarette.

Of course, this being New Jersey, Jim said it's the politicians who are truly the head of the line.

"You bet your butt they're going to going to get it first the people in a political or power position to do it. Then you go down the line," Jim said.

The Jim Gearhart Show podcast is available every week on New Jersey 101.5 and in the New Jersey 101.5 app. You can also subscribe with your favorite podcasting app for iPhones, Android devices.

The Jim Gearhart show is LIVE on Facebook every Thursday at 10:30 a.m., at Got an idea for an upcoming installment of Jim's show? Meet Jim at to suggest it in the comments, or email

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5's Jim Gearhart. Any opinions expressed are Jim's own.

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