COVID Vaccination and Diabetes

Jan 20. 2021

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and the associated COVID-19 disease are a challenge for the health system, especially against the background that the elderly and the chronically ill with COVID-19 disease often have a more severe course and also higher mortality [1].

Data indicate an increased risk of a severe or fatal COVID-19 course in obesity, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, chronic organ diseases, vascular diseases, autoimmune diseases or neurological diseases [1,2].

Why do people with diabetes should receive the corona vaccination?

Already in previous outbreaks in comparable viral diseases, e.g. the severe acute respiratory syndrome caused by coronavirus (SARS-CoV), in the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV) but also in influenza, connections between the glycemia situation and the severity of the disease were obvious, diabetes patients had more complications in these diseases or a more severe course [3-5].

In the case of COVID-19, a retrospective Chinese study in patients with type 2 diabetes and chronic hyperglycemia showed more frequent necessary medical interventions and increased hospital mortality compared to the non-diabetic control group. Study participants with an HbA1c of 8.1% had less favorable laboratory results and required more intensive medical treatment than participants with an HbA1c of 7.3%, who were comparable to the control group with regard to the other laboratory results [6].

Other studies indicate that a spontaneously high glucose concentration and above all glucose fluctuations with high peak values ​​can also have an unfavorable influence on the length of inpatient hospital stay and mortality [7,8].

Which vaccinations are available in UAE?

There are actually two vaccinations available on the market:

  • Sinopharm vaccine, with two injections administered 21 days apart. It works by using killed viral particles to expose the body’s immune system to the virus without risking a serious disease response.
  • Pfitzer-BioNTech vaccine, with two injections administered 21 days apart. A mRNA vaccine: This means part of the coronavirus’ genetic code is injected into the body, triggering the body to begin making viral proteins, but not the whole virus, which is enough to train the immune system to attack.

Efficacy of vaccination

Sinopharm announced on 30 December that phase three trials of the vaccine showed that it was 79% effective.

However, the United Arab Emirates said the vaccine was 86% effective, according to interim results of its phase three trial.

Pfitzer-BioNTech vaccine has shown till now in studies an efficacy of 95%.

What I should watch out for as a diabetic?

People with diabetes suffer more than the average from diseases for which they take anticoagulants (anticoagulants, commonly known as blood thinners). If you are taking these medications, you should inform the vaccination team beforehand so that they can vaccinate you with a particularly fine needle that minimizes rebleeding. It is important that you apply pressure to the vaccination site with a compress for at least two minutes after the vaccination.

According to current recommendations, people who have already had an anaphylactic reaction to a vaccination, drug or certain food (i.e. a very severe allergic reaction up to circulatory failure) should not be vaccinated.

In general, people with allergies (house dust, pollen, etc.) should be medically monitored for about 30 minutes after the vaccination as a pure precaution.

At GluCare, our artificial intelligence platform collects data from your band such as heart rate variability, respiration rate and skin temperature to calculate your risk of a COVID infection even before symptoms start appearing. Every patient has a COVID risk factor rating on their app. Our diabetic patients are naturally at a higher risk from COVID complications, and GluCare monitors their condition in real time. We recommend all patients to get their COVID vaccination.

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  1. Williamson EJ, Walker AJ, Bhaskaran K et al. OpenSAFELY: factors associated with COVID-19 death in 17 million patients. Nature 2020; 584(7821): 430-6 DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2521- 4
  2. Guo W, Li M, Dong Y et al. Diabetes is a risk factor for the progression and prognosis of COVID-19. Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2020. PMID: 32233013: e3319 DOI: 10.1002/dmrr.3319
  3. Allard R, Leclerc P, Tremblay C et al. Diabetes and the severity of pandemic influenza A (H1N1) infection. Diabetes Care 2010; 33: 1491-3 DOI: 10.2337/dc09-2215
  4. Yang JK, Feng Y, Yuan MY et al. Plasma glucose levels and diabetes are independent predictors for mortality and morbidity in patients with SARS. Diabet Med 2006; 23: 623-8 DOI: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2006.01861.x
  5. Nassar MS, Bakhrebah MA, Meo SA et al. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection: epidemiology, pathogenesis and clinical characteristics. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci 2018; 22: 4956-61 DOI: 10.26355/eurrev_201808_15635
  6. Zhu L, She ZG, Cheng X et al. Association of Blood Glucose Control and Outcomes in Patients with COVID-19 and Pre-existing Type 2 Diabetes. Cell Metabol 2020; 31(6): 1068-77 DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2020.04.021
  7. Bode B, Garrett V, Messler J et al. Glycemic Characteristics and Clinical Outcomes of COVID- 19 Patients Hospitalized in the United States. J Diabetes Sci Technol 2020; 14(4): 813-21: 1932296820924469 DOI: 10.1177/1932296820924469
  8. Li H, Tian S, Chen T et al. Newly diagnosed diabetes is associated with a higher risk of mortality than known diabetes in hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Diabetes, Obes Metab 2020: DOI: 10.1111/dom.14099

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