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Under plans put forward by the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation – a government advisory group – diabetics are set to receive the coronavirus vaccine before the over-65s.
The order of priority is said to go as follows:
- Older adults in care homes and care home workers;
- Those 80 and over, and social care workers;
- Those 75 years and over;
- Those 70 and over, and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals, excluding pregnant women and those under 18.
Millions of people with diabetes are set to get the coronavirus jab at the beginning of next year.
Those who have been shielding, such as those with Crohn’s disease, are also expected to be vaccinated sooner than originally planned.
This is said to apply to all 18 to 65-year-olds classified as “at-risk” groups.
Earlier plans had put the over-65s before shielding younger adults, reported The Times.
However, the new announcement shifts healthy over-65s down the priority list of those who will receive the vaccine once its available.
These measures are subject to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approving a vaccine supply.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was the first to submit its data for review by the MHRA last week.
Diabetes UK stated: “Everyone with diabetes, including those with type 1, type 2, gestational and other types, is vulnerable to developing a severe illness if they do get coronavirus.”
This is because “being ill can make your blood sugar go all over the place”.
For diabetics who do catch coronavirus, they’re advised to follow the “sick day rules”.
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The “sick day” rules
Diabetes UK advised people to contact their diabetes team to receive the correct advice.
In general, the charity suggests to keep taking diabetes medication during an illness.
It’s important to keep an eye on your blood sugar levels at home (if possible), by checking “at least every four hours, including during the night”.
“Stay hydrated – have plenty of unsweetened drinks, and eat little and often,” added Diabetics UK.
“This will help you to keep your blood sugars in range as much as possible,” said the charity.
It’s also wise to be aware of the signs of hyperglycaemia – when blood sugar levels are too high.
High blood sugar levels read above 7mmol/l before a meal and above 8.5mmol/l two hours after a meal.
As blood sugar levels rise, symptoms may include the following:
- Passing more urine than normal, especially at night
- Being very thirsty
- Tiredness and lethargy
To help prevent hyperglycaemia, it’s advisable to “be as active as possible” and to “take diabetes medication”.
Moreover, be aware of your carbohydrate portions and how they may affect your blood sugar levels after eating.
If your blood sugar levels tend to be high on a regular basis, it’s important to contact your diabetes healthcare team.
Together, you may need to adjust your diabetes treatment plan to minimise the risk of complications.
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