• Steve Mann

What's Blue and White and Red-faced all over? The CDC. That's Who - T1Ds NOT Prioritized for Vaccine

Spoiler alert. This is a rant.

I'm a VERY positive person but this deserves a rant post so forgive me in advance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) released loose guidelines for states to follow in determining how to disseminate the vaccine but has largely left most of the decisions up to the states.

In their initial recommendations, people with type 1 diabetes would receive the vaccine further down on the priority list, along with healthy individuals under 65 years old. People with type 2 diabetes are classified as, “at increased risk for severe COVID-19–associated illness” so have priority access in phase 1c, along with people who suffer from other conditions, such as cancer, heart failure, sickle cell disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and smoking.

Type 1 diabetes is classified as, “might be at increased risk for severe COVID-19-associated illness”, to be given access in phase 2, with other conditions such as being overweight (BMI >25), and suffering from neurologic conditions. This would put people with type 1 diabetes in the general population rollout, months after people with type 2 diabetes have gotten their shots, as well as behind many other chronic conditions.

What a slap in the face for a community that could face so many negative consequences should they contract the virus. Not to mention people with diabetes make up 40% of all COVID-19 deaths

But data has come out that people with type 1 diabetes suffer from mortality from COVID-19 at similar rates as people with type 2 diabetes, and a study conducted by Vanderbilt University said people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes who have COVID-19 have three to four times higher risk of severe complications and hospitalization as compared to people without diabetes.

Those with type 1 diabetes live in a dual reality: having a chronic condition, yet feeling its invisibility; never quite “sick enough” and don't “look” diabetic. Yet we know that our lives, as wonderful as they are, have unique challenges. That unless we take control over our lives, we suffer and can't reach our full potential. I personally know folks who live in such fear that they haven't left their neighborhoods in nearly a year. Many have stayed home, shut-in, and are waiting this out.

Do I have your attention yet?

Recently, advocacy efforts are underway urging the CDC to reconsider their guidelines. Organizations such as T1International, Mutual Aid Diabetes, The American Diabetes Association, JDRF, Beyond Type 1, Children with Diabetes, The diaTribe Foundation, DiabetesSisters, and T1D Exchange have lent their voices to make the needs of the 1.6 million people living with type 1 diabetes in America known.

Guidelines are in constant flux. Some days T1Ds are prioritized some days they are not. If the CDC can't make up its mind then come to talk to a few friends of mine, who are blind, have kidney disease, coronary artery disease, neuropathy, or the realization that their life spans are shorter...

OK. Rant over. Time to get back to being positive. Thanks for listening.


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