Diabetic patients should be prioritised during Covid-19 vaccination: Experts

Researchers have urged policy makers to provide Covid-19 vaccines to those who suffer from Type-1 and Type-2 diabetes on a priority basis.

Researchers at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center say that Type-1 and Type-2 diabetic patients are three times more likely to bear the severe outcomes of the novel coronavirus infection. They added that because of this amplified impact, policy makers should prioritise these individuals for Covid-19 vaccination.

Their findings were published in Diabetes Care, the journal of the American Diabetes Association.

Earlier, studies have shown that those with Type-2 diabetes are at higher risk of getting critical and being hospitalised if they contract Covid-19. However, little is known about the risk for individuals with Type-1 diabetes. In the US alone, an estimated 1.6 million individuals have Type-1 diabetes.

“I think these data support prioritizing individuals with Type-1 or individuals with Type-2 diabetes for immunization alongside other high-risk medical conditions that increase the risk of getting very sick with Covid-19, such as heart or lung disease,” said Justin Gregory, MD, MSCI, lead author for the study.

‘Be diligent’

For the study, the team of investigators identified electronic health records (EHRs) of over 6,000 patients across 137 Vanderbilt Health clinical sites who had a Covid-19 diagnosis during the period from mid-March until the first week of August.

The team then closely reviewed the patients’ medical records and contacted many individuals by telephone to identify additional risk factors and gather more information on how Covid-19 had impacted their health.

They compared the overall impact of Covid-19 for three populations: individuals with Type-1 diabetes, individuals with Type-2 diabetes, and those who did not have diabetes.

“People with Type-1 diabetes don’t need to live in fear and have undue anxiety, but they need to be really diligent in doing the things we all should be doing,” Gregory said. “All of us should be washing our hands and staying six feet apart. We should be conscientious about limiting the time spent with people outside our household. I’m not asking people with Type-1 diabetes to do anything that all of us shouldn’t already be doing. I just think they need to be the most diligent about doing it day in and day out,” he added.

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