The COVID-19 pandemic has now been ongoing for over a year, and even with the light finally visible at the end of the tunnel, it is undoubtable that it will have lasting effects, for years to come.
Late in 2020, we partnered with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) to conduct a survey-based analysis to assess the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Americans living with diabetes.
Approximately 2,600 responses were collected from the Thrivable online patient panel. People from all 50 states shared their experiences during the pandemic, describing the impacts on access to healthcare, food, outlook on receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, and more.
Key Findings: Reduced Health Care and Food Access
- About 4 of 10 Americans with diabetes delayed seeking routine medical care, with more than 50% stating the fear of COVID-19 exposure was the primary reason.
- About 1 in 5 Americans with diabetes have foregone or delayed getting an insulin pump or continuous glucose monitor (CGM).
- More than 1 in 4 stated their access to healthy food was reduced, with about 1 in 5 relying on food assistance programs.
- Almost half who receive assistance report that the food they receive negatively affects their diabetes management.
- About 1 in 5 people who receive nutritional assistance report not having enough food to eat.
Moreover, about 1 in 5 Americans with diabetes have reported having to choose between buying food vs. affording their diabetes supplies.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are widespread and span across multiple facets of people’s lives. For people with diabetes, many of whom are already struggling to afford their healthcare expenses, the financial effects of the pandemic may be particularly grim.
Perspectives on the COVID-19 Vaccine
When asked about their comfort level of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is made available to them, people with diabetes reported being more likely to want to receive it right away as compared to data collected from the general population.
Less than half as many people with diabetes stated that they would never want to get the vaccine as compared to data on the general population (10% vs. 21%, respectively).
It is perhaps not surprising that people with diabetes feel more strongly about receiving a COVID-19 vaccine than the general population. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that people with type 2 diabetes “are at increased risk of severe illness” from COVID-19, while people with type 1 diabetes “might be at an increased risk for severe illness.”
Other Insights: Barriers to Clinical Trials Participation
In addition to exploring the financial burden of the pandemic and assessing readiness to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, we also gathered information regarding previous participation or willingness to participate in a clinical trial. As per the recent press release,
“People with diabetes have participated infrequently in clinical drug trials in the past (only 11% report having done so), but the majority – 60% – say they are likely or very likely to participate in such a study in the future. Yet nearly a quarter of those who responded to the survey said they didn’t know how to participate in a drug trial if they wanted to do so.”
Check out the full press release from the ADA as well as the more data below:
Methodology and Panel Demographics
These figures are based on Thrivable’s survey of more than 2,500 people with diabetes nationally, between December 7th and December 14th, 2020
- A multiple-choice survey was distributed online to people with diabetes (U.S. residents) who signed up for the Thrivable Insights panel.
- Participants were not compensated for their responses.
- Data was analyzed using Qualtrics and Excel.
- Details on panel breakdown include:
- N = 2,595
- o 47% with type 1 diabetes, 53% type 2
- o 69% female, 31% male
- o All 50 U.S. states are represented
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