Australian adults with cardiovascular disease and diabetes are encouraged to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and to take the offered vaccine as soon as it becomes available to them.
Below we answer some of the most important questions people with heart disease and / or diabetes may have about the vaccine.
If you have specific concerns or questions about your personal situation, it is important to speak to your health care professional directly.
You can also find the latest vaccination recommendations from the Australian Government, details of the various vaccines approved for use in Australia and information on how the vaccine is launched in the country.
Why should I get vaccinated?
The COVID-19 vaccination is an important tool to prevent the spread of this disease. The vaccines we will have in Australia have already been shown to be safe and effective and it is highly recommended that you get vaccinated as soon as you are offered a vaccine.
We now know that vaccines prevent serious diseases. This is important because people with heart disease and diabetes who contract COVID-19 are at higher risk for the serious and potentially fatal complications of the virus. Hence, there is a strong argument for people with these diseases to take all safe measures to protect themselves from infection, including vaccination.
The other major benefit is that we all have a role to play in containing the spread of COVID-19. This is also of particular benefit to people with heart disease and diabetes as the locks have disrupted care. It would be great to go back to normal to treat chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?
There were extremely thorough safety protocols as vaccines were used in development and clinical trials. Years of scientific research and assistive technology have allowed these vaccines to be developed quickly.
It’s also useful to know that the vaccines were tested in men and women of different ages and races with a range of health conditions – including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe for people with cardiovascular disease?
The vaccine is safe for adults who have or have had cardiovascular disease.
It was approved for use in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) based on independent, robust evidence showing it was safe and functional. The TGA evaluates its safety and effectiveness for a number of different age groups, health conditions, and lifestyle factors before approving its use. This included people with cardiovascular disease.
The TGA actively oversees COVID-19 vaccine development in Australia and around the world, and is part of a network of international regulators that meet regularly to discuss COVID-19 vaccine development.
Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe for people with diabetes?
The vaccine is safe for adults with diabetes.
We know from previous research that the immune response to fighting the coronavirus is no different in people with diabetes than in people without diabetes. So there’s no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine is any less effective in people with diabetes.
When you receive the vaccine, your body starts producing something called an immune response. There is nothing to worry about. Your body will only respond to the vaccine because you are new to the vaccine. As with any vaccine, there is a chance that the COVID-19 vaccine could cause blood sugar levels to rise for a few days. You shouldn’t be alarmed by this and just stick to your typical sick day schedule in case it occurs. After the vaccination, drink plenty of water, monitor your blood sugar levels closely, and make sure you have someone to assist you if necessary.
Is One Vaccine Better Than Another For People With Heart Disease Or Diabetes?
The COVID-19 vaccinations are safe and have been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) rigorous testing process. Both vaccines currently approved by the TGA (AstraZeneca and Pfizer) are suitable for use in adults with diabetes and / or cardiovascular disease.
You cannot choose which COVID-19 vaccine is offered to you. The initial supply of COVID-19 vaccines is limited, and whichever vaccine you get first is the best vaccine for you.
Are there any side effects?
All vaccines can cause side effects. Usually these are mild. In clinical studies with COVID-19 vaccines, side effects such as pain at the injection site, fever, or muscle pain were reported on or the day after vaccination. Serious complications are extremely rare – under five per million.
Can I get COVID-19 from a coronavirus vaccine?
You cannot get COVID-19 from a COVID-19 vaccine.
COVID-19 occurs after being infected with a live virus that can multiply in your body. No vaccine in use worldwide contains live coronavirus.
Are there any medications I should be concerned about if I get the vaccine?
Make sure you are taking all of your regular medications at the same time and dose on the day of your vaccination. It is safe to take the vaccine if you are on multiple drugs.
In general, the vaccine is safe for people with blood thinners, but there is some risk of light bleeding as with any injection. If you’re taking a blood thinner, it may take a little longer for the bleeding to stop and you may bruise your upper arm more. Relevant clinical guidelines are contained in the Australian Government’s Immunization Handbook to be followed by healthcare professionals. If you have any specific concerns, be sure to speak to your doctor.
When will I get the vaccine?
A phased introduction of COVID-19 vaccines in Australia will begin on February 22, 2021.
It will take time to make enough doses of the vaccine to vaccinate the entire population in Australia. Initially, the vaccine is offered using a “priority framework” that describes how the initially limited doses available will be allocated.
Because people with cardiovascular disease and / or diabetes are most susceptible to serious COVID-19 complications, people in these groups are vaccinated early.
The Australian government has published detailed information on priority populations.
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