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People With Diabetes Included in COVID-19 Booster Shot Recommendations

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People With Diabetes Included in COVID-19 Booster Shot Recommendations

The latest recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) include diabetes as a medical condition that makes most COVID-19 vaccine recipients eligible for an extra “booster” dose of the leading vaccines.

Last week, the CDC updated its guidance on COVID-19 booster shots to cover both of the leading vaccines in the United States — those from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Together, these two vaccines have been given to the overwhelming majority of people who received COVID-19 vaccines in the United States. The third approved COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, from Johnson & Johnson (J&J/Janssen), has been given to only a small fraction of vaccinated people. The CDC also updated its guidance on booster shots for the J&J/Janssen vaccine, but this guidance doesn’t specifically apply to people with diabetes or any other medical condition.

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Vaccine booster eligibility

According to the latest CDC statement on COVID-19 vaccine boosters, anyone who received the initial series of shots for the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine should now get a third shot if at least six months have passed since the initial series, and they belong to an eligible group. These groups include people ages 65 and older, adults who live in long-term care settings, adults who work in high-risk settings, and adults who have a qualifying medical condition. In addition to diabetes — type 1 or type 2 — qualifying medical conditions include cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, chronic lung diseases, dementia, cardiovascular disease, overweight or obesity, pregnancy, mental health disorders, substance use disorders, and being a current or former smoker.

Earlier this year, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) urged the CDC to include people with diabetes as an eligible group for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots. This occurred at a time when the CDC indicated it might be recommending booster shots only for certain people with compromised immune systems. The ADA, along with other medical and advocacy groups, urged the CDC to consider also making people who tend to experience the worst outcomes from COVID-19 eligible for booster shots — an approach that the CDC ended up taking.

For people who received an initial J&J/Janssen vaccine, the CDC now recommends a booster shot for everyone ages 18 and older if at least two months have passed since the initial shot. This guidance applies regardless of any underlying medical conditions.

For anyone who is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, the CDC recommends getting any of the authorized vaccines, regardless of which type you got the first time. There isn’t much data on how effective different combinations of vaccine types are when it comes to preventing COVID-19, but there is limited data to suggest that a “mix and match” approach is just as effective — or possibly more effective — at boosting the body’s immune response against the coronavirus as a series of shots from the same manufacturer.

As always, talk to your health care provider if you have any questions about whether you should get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, or about which type of shot you should get.

Want to learn more about coronavirus and diabetes? Read our latest COVID-19 updates.

Quinn Phillips

Quinn Phillips

Quinn Phillips on social media

A freelance health writer and editor based in Wisconsin, Phillips has a degree from Harvard University. He is a former Editorial Assistant for Diabetes Self-Management and has years of experience covering diabetes and related health conditions. Phillips writes on a variety of topics, but is especially interested in the intersection of health and public policy.

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