Publication authors: van den Berg, J.M. Remmelzwaal, S. Blom, M.T. van Hoek, B.A.C.E. Swart, K.M.A. Overbeek, J.A. Burchell, G.L. Herings, R.M.C. Elders, P.J.M.
Persons with diabetes mellitus may have an increased risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 compared to persons without diabetes. Prior studies indicate that immune response and thus vaccine effectiveness might be lower in persons with diabetes. We aimed to systematically review the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in adults with diabetes. Pubmed, Embase, Web of Science and Cochrane Library were searched for studies that evaluated the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in adults with diabetes, published before 4 March 2022. Risk of bias in the included studies was evaluated using the ROBINS-I tool. At least two reviewers conducted the study selection, data extraction, and risk of bias assessment independently. After screening of 2196 studies, a total of 17 articles were included. Six different COVID-19 vaccines (Ad5-nCoV-S, AZD1222, BNT162b2, CoronaVac, JNJ-78436735, and mRNA-1273) were included in the synthesis. Vaccine effectiveness was reported for SARS-CoV-2 infection, symptomatic COVID-19, hospitalization, and death, and ranged from 24 to 96% in persons with diabetes, and from 33 to 97% in total study populations; effectiveness was generally lower for persons with diabetes. Odds ratios for breakthrough infection or severe COVID-19 ranged from 1.03 to 2.41 in vaccinated persons with diabetes compared to persons without diabetes. Even though the included studies were very heterogeneous, results from the synthesis indicate that effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines might be lower in persons with diabetes. More research is needed on the comparison of vaccine effectiveness between persons with and without diabetes, and the effectiveness of repeat COVID-19 vaccinations.