A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that people 18 and under who recover from COVID-19 are at an increased risk of developing Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.
The finding “highlights the importance of COVID-19 prevention strategies, including vaccination, for all eligible persons in this age group, in addition to chronic disease prevention and management,” the researchers state.
Their report, published Friday, follows other studies that suggest adults may be at an increased risk of developing diabetes after recovering from COVID-19.
Other researchers have also noticed an uptick in diabetes diagnoses among children recovering from the virus in Europe.
The CDC researchers analyzed two large U.S. databases of health insurance claims, comparing data among children who had COVID-19 to data among children who did not catch the virus between March 1, 2020, and early-to-mid-2021.
Both data sets revealed a significant increase in diabetes diagnoses among minors who had contracted COVID-19, but to different degrees: One set showed diabetes risk was 166% higher among those who had the virus, while the other showed the risk was 31% higher.
“The mechanism of how SARS-CoV-2,” the virus that causes COVID-19, “might lead to incident diabetes is likely complex and could differ by Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes,” researchers wrote, emphasizing the importance of monitoring children in the months after a COVID-19 diagnosis and screening for diabetes specifically. Symptoms include increased thirst, increased hunger, frequent urination, weight loss, fatigue, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting.
Currently, children age 4 and under cannot receive any COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. More data on the Pfizer shot’s efficacy for that age group is expected by April.
Children ages 5-17 can receive the Pfizer vaccine; ages 18 and up can receive either Pfizer or Moderna. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is still available as a first shot for adults, but the CDC recommends getting one of the other two brands as a booster. Everyone ages 16 and up is currently eligible for a booster.