Official Statement

American Diabetes Association Applauds CDC Decision to Prioritize All People with Diabetes for the COVID-19 Vaccine

March 30, 2021 | Arlington, Virginia

CEO Tracey D. Brown Urges All States to Follow CDC’s Guidance 

The American Diabetes Association® (ADA) applauds the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for recognizing and prioritizing all people with diabetes for a COVID-19 vaccination. In updated guidance released yesterday on the CDC website, the CDC acknowledges the message advanced by ADA and other diabetes community leaders, stating, “having either type 1 or type 2 diabetes can make you more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19.” This updated guidance will help to address the fact that in many states, millions of people with type 1 diabetes have not been prioritized equally, slowing their access to critical vaccines.

Tracey D. Brown, Chief Executive Officer for the American Diabetes Association issued the following statement:

“The updated recommendation is a welcomed change for the nearly 1.6 million Americans who have type 1 diabetes, many of whom were left behind–even if inadvertently–by CDC’s previous guidance. We know people with diabetes account for nearly 40 percent of all COVID-19 related deaths. Having CDC acknowledge the serious risk to all people with diabetes from COVID-19 will go a long way toward boosting increasing access to the vaccine for our community at a critical time. It is crucial that remaining states follow suit. The science and the CDC recommendation leave no doubt that all people with diabetes should be prioritized equally.”

Twice already this year, the ADA has submitted formal requests to the CDC urging that the agency recognize new evidence of serious risk to people with type 1 diabetes from COVID, and urging CDC to prioritize access to the vaccine equally for all people with diabetes. These submissions were signed by nearly 20 leading organizations, including the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists, the Endocrine Society, JDRF, and the YMCA of the USA. 

As the submissions noted, new clinical evidence demonstrates that COVID-19 severity is more than tripled traditional risk levels among individuals with type 1 diabetes, who have a 3.3x greater risk of severe illness, are 3.9x more likely to be hospitalized, and face mortality rates three times as high as those who do not have type 1 diabetes. These risks are comparable to the increased risk for those with type 2 diabetes. 

The ADA has also been working with governors across the nation to advocate for prioritizing vaccine access for type 1 and type 2 diabetes equally; as of this writing, 38 states and the District of Columbia have announced they will take this step. 

Visit the ADA’s COVID-19 hub to see the latest on vaccine plans for each state and many other resources. Additionally, links to the full versions of the letters ADA spearheaded urging CDC to prioritize access to all people with diabetes can be found here and here

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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).