With COVID vaccination advice constantly changing, we’ve dove deeply into what vaccines people living with type 1 diabetes can get and how these vaccines affect them.
Since the start of 2020, there have been a total of 31,600 cases in Australia and over 180 million cases worldwide of COVID-19. With only 10% of the Australian population being fully vaccinated, we thought it might be useful to help answer any burning vaccine questions that you might have.
Although Australia has seen less cases and fatalities compared with other countries, we are still battling with significant outbreaks such as in Sydney which is forcing lockdowns to occur. Not only have we seen the impact this can have on small businesses and people’s mental health, but it shows how important the rollout of COVID vaccinations play in making sure these lockdowns don’t happen and we can get back to a life like before COVID-19.
Current Vaccination Guidelines
Current guidelines recommend that every adult living with diabetes should get vaccinated against COVID-19, as there is a greater chance of a more serious infection. People living with type 1 diabetes are now a part of the current phase 1b rollout, with both Pfizer and AstraZeneca being approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has advised that people under the age of 60 should receive the Pfizer vaccine and people of the age 60 and above should receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.
For now, children under 16 living cannot receive any COVID-19 vaccine in Australia. However, clinical trial results had led to the TGA approving the use of the Pfizer vaccine for children aged between 12 and 16 on the 23rd of July. More clinical trials have led to the Pfizer vaccine being used in people 16 years or older and the AstraZeneca vaccine being used in people 18 years and older. States and territories are now deciding how to provide correct vaccines to people aged 16 and 17 and more information on this will be available soon. What this means now is that the ATAGI are to decide when younger people should be vaccinated but the government have indicated children under the age of 16 will have to wait until Phase 3 of the vaccine rollout, depending on the results from these trials.
One of the main concerns now is about the safety of both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines. The TGA ensures that although the development and approval of these vaccines have been faster than usual, no testing phases or safety assessments have been skipped. These vaccines have been built on years of scientific research, which not only ensures their safety, but has helped speed up the development process. Diabetes Australia also states that people living with diabetes were included in the testing phases of the vaccines and that there is no evidence of a larger risk for developing the extremely rare type of blood clotting disorder associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine. If you have any concerns about eligibility, or potential side effects from the vaccine, please have a chat to your GP.
Where might you be able to get vaccinations?
Vaccinations are currently being offered at GP clinics, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, Commonwealth Vaccination and state and territory vaccination clinics. All it takes is for you to get into contact with one of these facilities and a simple online booking will be required.
Looking forward, there is talk of another vaccine being rolled out in Australia named Moderna. The Moderna vaccine will cater for the different strains of COVID-19 and will give people a longer lasting immunity. Australia is expecting to receive this vaccine in the first half of 2022, which is really exciting news. Hopefully this article helps answer any of those burning questions you have about type 1 diabetes and COVID-19 vaccines. If you have any other queries, the best place to search would be the Diabetes Australia website or raise any concerns with your GP.