How to Get Your COVID-19 Vaccine
Editor’s Note: We have a simple goal: tap into the power of the global diabetes community to save lives. Visit coronavirusdiabetes.org to learn more about what you can do as a person with diabetes to keep yourself and others safe from COVID-19 until we’re all safe.
This article was last updated Thursday, July 8, 2021.
If you are 12 years or older, it’s time to get your COVID-19 vaccine! As a person with Type 1 diabetes, you may be wondering if and where you can get yours. VaccineFinder.org is a medical-professional vetted place to find a convenient vaccination appointment. Most drug stores and pharmacies have vaccines available (some are walk-in, some by appointment). You can also look up your state health department. Each state generally has a special COVID-19 page where they list COVID-19 vaccine locations.
If you aren’t having any luck finding a vaccine appointment, reach out to your healthcare provider. Particularly if you have a healthcare provider like an endocrinologist who helps you take care of your diabetes, they may have some insider information on how their hospital or practice is planning to distribute the vaccine. Remember to be kind and patient – healthcare providers are carrying an immense amount and they may not have an answer for you immediately.
Should people with T1D get the vaccine?
It’s important to remember that having Type 1 diabetes does not seem to put anyone more at risk for contracting the novel coronavirus, but other factors like older age, high-exposure employment, consistently elevated blood glucose levels, or other non-diabetes related health factors like obesity and hypertension may increase your risk of infection.
We also know that diabetes care itself is made far more complicated after contracting COVID-19 and protecting anyone with diabetes from getting COVID-19 is our ultimate goal. That’s why we encourage everyone with diabetes to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
What about kids with T1D?
In May 2021, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was granted an emergency use authorization by the FDA and the CDC for people aged 12 through 15. This approval followed vaccine trials that specifically focused on how the immune systems of youth aged 12 to 15 would handle the vaccine, with trials for those aged 11 and younger currently underway. Youth trials of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine have shown similar efficacy and side effects for those aged 12 and above as with adults—the vaccine was proven to be safe and effective, protecting all individuals from severe symptoms or outcomes of COVID-19, while having minimal and typical vaccine side effects.
Important to note is that children do not seem to be more likely to contract coronavirus or have severe outcomes from the COVID-19 disease. However, a very small number of children who did contract COVID-19 then ended up with a condition called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C), a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. Ensuring your child does not contract COVID-19 is the best way to prevent the possibility of MIS-C.
Additionally, as we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, disparities are abundant. Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, American Indian, Alaskan Natives, and Hispanic children have experienced significantly higher rates of infection than their peers. Non-Hispanic Black children with T1D who contract COVID-19 are four times more likely to also experience DKA.
So while generally children are less likely to contract the coronavirus, it is important to remain vigilant and continue practicing measures to protect everyone – like wearing a mask and social distancing – to keep everyone safe until we’re all safe.
Every vaccine taken decreases the risk and prevents the spread of COVID-19. While it is frustrating to watch the logistical mess, the more people who get vaccinated quickly the better, and in the meantime, continue to practice safe measures that protect you and your loved ones from COVID-19, including doing your best to keep tight control of your blood sugar levels, wearing a mask and physical distancing from anyone outside of your household, and avoiding indoor gatherings.
For a deeper dive into the science of and trials for the COVID-19 vaccines, visit Diabetes + COVID-19 Vaccines: What You Need to Know.