Re: Recommendations from the Diabetes and Endocrinology Department at Perth Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Diabetes Centre at Telethon Kids Institute regarding COVID-19 vaccination for children with diabetes
Based on advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), the Department of Health recently announced that some children aged between 12 to 15 years old are now eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
Diabetes is specifically listed as an eligible medical condition. Therefore, children with type 1 and type 2 diabetes aged 12 -15 years are now eligible to receive the 2 dose Pfizer vaccine. The Diabetes Service at Perth Children’s Hospital supports ATAGI’s recommendation, and suggests children with diabetes from 12 years of age be vaccinated against COVID-19. The vaccine is not available for children under 12 years.
We understand there may be many questions from parents and children so we’ve put together answers to the questions we have already received, and some we anticipate, below.
Why should children aged 12-15 with diabetes get vaccinated?
The evidence from around the world is that, while people with well controlled type 1 diabetes are no more likely to contract COVID-19 than people without diabetes, the management of diabetes is made much more complicated.
In the presence of a COVID infection the risks of complications are higher, glucose levels are more difficult to control, a higher risk of ketones exists and thus there is the potential for ketoacidosis. It makes sense to reduce these risks by reducing the chances of severe infection in the first place with vaccination.
It is also worth noting that if diabetes control is not optimal, the chance of contracting COVID-19, and the risk of severe illness, may be higher.
What about youth with Type 2 Diabetes?
It has been reported that people with type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, and also a higher risk of severe illness. The data with reference specifically to youth with type 2 diabetes is less clear, but most experts around the world agree risks to youth with type 2 diabetes of a COVID-19 infection are likely higher than the general population.
Is the vaccine effective for youth with diabetes?
Yes. There is no evidence that people with diabetes respond any differently to the rest of the population. Indeed, studies show they produce a robust protective antibody response.
Is the vaccine safe for youth with diabetes?
Yes. There is no evidence that youth with diabetes have a higher risk of side effects from the vaccine.
How can we book a vaccine?
You can go to the Vaccinate WA web site at vaccinate.health.wa.gov.au or through rollup.wa.gov.au, or contact your GP. At present the vaccination cannot be offered at PCH.
If you have any further questions please discuss with your GP or your clinic team.
Dr Craig Taplin on behalf of the PCH Diabetes Service
Clinical Lead – Diabetes and Paediatric Endocrinologist