Press release

Leading Diabetes Advocacy Groups Urge CDC to Include Americans with Diabetes in Those Prioritized for COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters

August 12, 2021 | Arlington, Virginia

Today, the American Diabetes Association® and 14 other leading voluntary health organizations and medical societies concerned with diabetes urged the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to consider the health risks people with diabetes are facing with COVID-19 as the agency develops guidance on special patient populations who may benefit from additional COVID-19 vaccine doses. Combined, these groups advocate on behalf of the 122 million Americans with diabetes and prediabetes.

This week, it was announced that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CDC will be releasing guidance recommending that immunocompromised Americans would benefit from additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. This population would include those who are disproportionately at risk of contracting COVID, including cancer patients, transplant patients, and others.

In a letter led by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) to the CDC, the groups urge CDC to additionally consider patient populations who suffer the worst health outcomes after contracting COVID-19, like patients with diabetes who, to date, have made up approximately 40 percent of all COVID-19 related mortalities. The letter points to other disproportionately poor outcomes from COVID-19 that people with diabetes experience, including significantly greater risk from being hospitalized and the fact that diabetes is one of the most frequently identified underlying health conditions reported in Americans contracting COVID-19.

“There are two issues here,” said Dr. Robert Gabbay, Chief Scientific and Medical Officer for the ADA. “First, you must consider the population of patients who are most at risk from contracting the COVID-19 virus. Thus far, this has been the focus of the CDC and the FDA.”

Dr. Gabbay continued, “However, we would encourage the agencies to ensure that we’re making available additional protections for those patients who we know suffer the worst outcomes from COVID-19. This includes Americans with diabetes, who would benefit tremendously from protections offered by additional COVID-19 doses.”

On Friday, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is set to hold a hearing on this issue. 

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About the American Diabetes Association
Every day more than 4,000 people are newly diagnosed with diabetes in America. More than 122 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes and are striving to manage their lives while living with the disease. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization fighting to bend the curve on the diabetes epidemic and help people living with diabetes thrive. For 80 years the ADA has been driving discovery and research to treat, manage and prevent diabetes, while working relentlessly for a cure. We help people with diabetes thrive by fighting for their rights and developing programs, advocacy and education designed to improve their quality of life. Diabetes has brought us together. What we do next will make us Connected for Life. To learn more or to get involved, visit us at or call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383). Join the fight with us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn).