Concerned Citizen

When advocacy isn’t enough... why are type one diabetics not considered highest risk?

From Kingston Main, ON
Kingston Main

Mon Apr 26 2021


As a type one diabetic it upsets me to see that our condition has been listed in Ontario as at risk while others have been deemed highest risk. Many of my fellow juvenile diabetics have worked frontline non medical positions throughout the entire pandemic. We have not been advocated for adequately by JDRF or the Ontario ministry of Health and our calls for vaccine priority have fallen on deaf ears. I have contacted doctors, my public health office and our medical director, my MPP and my MP with no response or even acknowledgement of my concerns. Type one diabetes is an autoimmune disorder that requires 24 hour a day control and consideration. With Ontario moving into potential triage protocol, with the increase in ICU admissions, where do type one diabetics fall in the list for being afforded life saving efforts and ventilator priority?

Type one diabetics with severe covid were dying disproportionately to their aged counterparts by three times during the initial wave in Britain in early 2020. These figures prove type one diabetes puts us at a 3 times greater risk of mortality equivalent to an 80 year old regardless of our age. There are approximately 300,000 type ones in Canada a very small population who live with a chronic illness our entire lives that was not induced by our behaviours and has no preventative action to ensure we do not get diagnosed.

Diabetics are a much higher risk of needing medical intervention when sick with the common flu, so when afflicted with moderate or severe covid it is predictable we may be in need of medical support adding to the list of patients needing hospital care. To vaccinate type one diabetics in the highest priority health risk group would mean that those resources will not be needed and diabetics will not die disproportionately in Ontario during this third wave - in the same manner they did in Britain in early 2020.

The fact type one diabetics have to educate our politicians on the difference of our disease from type two is embarrassing. The fact no one has advocated for us and ensured we would have any form of vaccine priority is disgraceful. I want our politicians, our public health units and our medical community to answer us why we have been overlooked and how our lives are less valuable than the other highest risk conditions when there is significant data to support type one diabetics are at great risk of death from covid.

My tax money pays the salaries of my elected officials and our medical director of our local public health unit - the fact they cannot even address my questions, their constituents concerns for our safety and the value in our lives is heartbreaking. Diabetics are aware there is a supply issue but ignoring our pleas for a plan, a timeline, or a consideration to our fairly rare disease (10% of all diabetics are type one!) is devastating.

If I elected you to represent me I expect you to at least give me the courtesy of a response and some consideration.

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