Diabetes and the COVID-19 vaccine, local doctor answers important questions

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This photo provided by Novo Nordisk Inc. shows its Tresiba brand insulin. On Tuesday, April 14, 2020, Novo Nordisk announced a new program offering free insulin for at least three months months for diabetes patients who have lost their insurance amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Novo Nordisk Inc. via AP)

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Did you know that over 500,000 people have diabetes in Louisiana?

That is according to Baton Rouge General, who state that the coronavirus has really hit those who have diabetes.

BRG says, “a new study shows that people who get COVID and have diabetes, whether type 1 or type 2, have three to four times higher risk of severe illness and hospitalization.”

So, should those with diabetes get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Dr. Eric Frusha, from Baton Rouge General – Ascension, took time to answer some important questions for those that live with diabetes during the pandemic.

Q: Were people with diabetes included in the vaccine trials?

Yes. The COVID-19 vaccine is the fastest vaccine developed in the history of vaccines. But, that doesn’t mean researchers bypassed safety protocols or performed inadequate testing. Clinical trials tested their safety in adults of all ages, races and ethnicities, as well as chronic health conditions.

Information below is provided by Baton Rouge General:

  • The Pfizer-BioNtech trial included 3,150 people with diabetes (8.4% of trial participants).
  • The Moderna trial included 2,858 people with type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes (9.4% of trial participants).

Q: Do diabetes medications affect the vaccine?

At this time there is no information available on drug interactions between either authorized COVID vaccine and other medications, but it’s not anticipated that the vaccine itself would interact with insulin or other standard diabetes medications. One thing to consider: it may be helpful to avoid injecting insulin in your vaccine injection site for several days after vaccination.

Q: How will the vaccine affect my blood sugar levels?

Because the vaccine can cause symptoms of illness that can lead to high glucose levels, be sure to carefully monitor your blood sugar levels for 48 hours after you receive your vaccination. It’s also important to stay hydrated. So far, people with diabetes seem to be experiencing few side effects and minimal effect on blood sugar levels.

According to the latest statistics from the CDC, “34.2 million Americans—just over 1 in 10—have diabetes.”

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