People with diabetes and obesity should be prioritised for early Covid-19 vaccination, according to the Irish Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (IrSPEN).
IrSPEN said that diabetes and obesity have emerged as significant underlying risk factors for developing severe illness from Covid-19 and these patients should also be prioritised for continuity of treatment during the pandemic.
“Intensive Care Units (ICUs) are currently filling up with many younger patients who have underlying diabetes and obesity and have contracted Covid-19,” said IrSPEN spokesperson and obesity specialist at St Vincent’s University Hospital Professor Carel le Roux.
“People with more severe obesity and more severe type 1 and type 2 diabetes are at most risk. These patients are now not being ventilated as quickly as in the first wave, because we understand that the reason their oxygen levels become so low has as much to do with their underlying condition, rather than the coronavirus being the sole cause.
“Diabetes and obesity cause inflammation of small blood vessels around the lungs and other organs – and this is then exaggerated by Covid-19.
“This understanding highlights the importance of continuity of existing treatments for patients with diabetes and obesity as a part of managing the impact of the virus. It also highlights the importance of vaccinating this cohort of patients to minimise hospitalisation,” he said.