They say people with diabetes have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if they develop coronavirus.
The charity says for people living with diabetes, the best protection against coronavirus is to avoid contact with the virus and to get vaccinated.
Jill Steaton, Regional Head in the South East at Diabetes UK, said: “All adults with diabetes are now being offered the vaccine, so it’s incredibly important to take up your invitation – to help keep yourself, your family, and your community safe. The vaccines being offered are safe and will save lives, so please don’t hesitate to get the vaccine when the time comes. If you have any worries or questions about the vaccine, call Diabetes UK’s Helpline on 0345 123 2399 to talk things through.”
Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly. If not managed well, both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications. With the right treatment, knowledge and support, people living with diabetes can lead a long, full and healthy life.
Arif Syed is chairman of the Crawley (Broadfield) Mosque and former Lay Member for Patient and Public Engagement at Crawley Clinical Commissioning Group. He was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 25 years ago.
Arif said: “I didn’t hesitate when I got the call to get my vaccination. I had my first dose in January and encourage everyone in the South Asian community to take up the vaccine when you are given the chance. It is particularly important if, like me, you have type 2 diabetes. This has affected us all – unfortunately, my brother, a respiratory consultant treating Covid patients, has himself been in ICU for six months after being diagnosed with the virus.
“Please take this seriously and join me in getting the vaccine and spreading the word that it is safe, effective and halal. I’ve been busy the past few weeks organising the vaccination bus to come to our Mosque to help our local vaccination drive. It is important for us, our loved ones and our community that we get this to as many people as possible. Help save lives and take the vaccine.”
Arif’s daughter, Hannah Syed, is the Diabetes Lead Pharmacist at East Sussex Healthcare Trust. She is currently helping supervise Eastbourne Hospital’s NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Hub alongside supporting those living with diabetes.
Hannah said: “I got my first injection in January and I’m really proud of the NHS and the amazing work we are doing to rollout the vaccine. If you have diabetes, I really urge you to take up the vaccine when it is offered. People with diabetes are more vulnerable to developing severe illness and those from some ethnic groups are at a higher risk of death from coronavirus. We are all in this together so when your turn comes, please take up the vaccine. Please reach out to us if you have any questions.”
If you have any concerns or would like more information, please call Diabetes UK’s Helpline on 0345 123 2399 or visit our Learning Zone at diabetes.org.uk/learningzone for a free five-minute course on everything you need to know about the vaccine.