Johnston County billboard slams Cooper over ‘Kind 1 diabetes’ ::


A billboard in Johnston County indicates that North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper is understaffing people with type 1 diabetes.

A WRAL viewer emailed a photo of the billboard on US Highway 301 to PolitiFact. It says:

“Gov Roy Cooper doesn’t consider type 1 diabetes a health problem! Think about it!”

The billboard doesn’t show who paid for it. Warren Stancil, president of InterState Outdoor Inc., said he did not know the identity of the buyer.

“This was an anonymous person who bought the ad space. I just know what’s in the message, ”Stancil said in an email. The ad went up around January 22nd, he said.

Given the timing of reporting during a vaccine rollout, for the purposes of this review, we’ll assume the Messenger is likely to be related to where diabetics fall on North Carolina’s vaccination schedule.

The poster message touches on a controversial topic.

So far, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not believe that both types of diabetes have the same risk of COVID-19 complications. In North Carolina, the health department has now grouped type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and people with both conditions can qualify for covid vaccines in Group 4 before the general population.

Type 1 diabetes and COVID-19

The CDC’s website on the effects of the virus on people with medical conditions states that people with type 2 diabetes are at increased risk, while people with type 1 diabetes are at “increased risk”.

According to current CDC recommendations, people with type 1 diabetes would be vaccinated with the general population.

Stakeholders like the American Diabetes Association and JDRF (formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) are campaigning for the CDC to make people with type 1 diabetes a higher priority.

A study published in December found that type 1 diabetes “independently increased the adverse effects of COVID-19,” while another study found that black COVID-19 patients were more likely to have a serious complication of type 1 Diabetes develop as white patients.

Still, JDRF spokeswoman Cynthia Rice said that based on the CDC’s recommendations, “many states” have not given priority to people with type 1 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association has contacted governors and state agencies across the country, spokeswoman Daisy Diaz told PolitiFact.

Type 1 Diabetes and North Carolina

In North Carolina, the health department currently considers both types of diabetes to be “chronic diseases.” Where do diabetics come from with the introduction of vaccines in North Carolina?

Let’s say someone has diabetes but is no older than 65, doesn’t work in a major industry, and doesn’t meet other criteria to improve North Carolina’s vaccine priority list.

That person would be in group 4 of the state’s five groups:

Group 1: Health care workers, nurses and residents

Group 2: Older adults

Group 3: Important frontline workers

Group 4: Adults at increased risk of serious illness

Group 5: Every body else

When asked about North Carolina’s plan, Rice said, “This is the policy we are pursuing across the country, including Type 1 in other diseases that increase the risk of developing serious illness from COVID.”

Possible confusion

While people with both types of diabetes have priority in North Carolina, old versions of the Department of Health’s website may have given the wrong impression.

Take the COVID-19 vaccine department’s FAQ page, for example. In the “Vaccination” section, the department lists chronic diseases for which someone has a higher priority for vaccination.

Bill Adair, founder of PolitiFact

The site currently lists both types of diabetes as chronic conditions.

However, it wasn’t until Feb. 12 that the site excluded type 1 diabetes from its list of chronic conditions, according to an Internet archive. CDC guidelines were quoted on the website, in which only type 2 diabetes was mentioned as a chronic disease.

This exclusion could be why media outlets like WTVD, WECT, and others only mentioned type 2 diabetes when reporting on the introduction of North Carolina.

North Carolina has tried to follow most of the CDC recommendations, said Sarah Lewis Peel, a health department spokeswoman. However, Peel said North Carolina has always planned to prioritize all diabetics for vaccines.

People with both types of diabetes have been prioritized together since the state released its guidelines for Group 4 on Jan. 25, she said.

Our decision

PolitiFact: Wrong

The billboard reads: “Cooper doesn’t consider type 1 diabetes an (underlying) health problem!”

The introduction of vaccines in North Carolina is prioritizing people with type 1 diabetes over the general population. So it’s clear that Cooper, to some extent, views the disease as an underlying health problem.

We judge this claim to be false.

More on this