people with diabetes getting vaccinesIt’s that time of year again to gear up for flu season and get vaccinated. Flu season can begin as early as October and end as late as May, typically peaking in January and February.  Did you know that individuals with Diabetes, even well controlled are at a higher risk for serious flu complications? These complications can include hospitalization and even death, as a result of getting the flu. Diabetes can make your immune system less able to fight infections like the flu (1).

With this knowledge in mind, it is a good idea to get vaccinated in September.  

Have you had your flu shot yet?

The CDC recommends that people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, aged 6 months and older receive flu vaccines annually. Along with getting vaccinated, it is important to take every day preventive steps, like washing your hands frequently. If you are sick, stay home from school or work to prevent spreading germs. Make your appointment now to get your flu shot. 

On top of receiving the flu vaccine (influenza) it is important to get the Pneumococcal vaccine. People with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk for developing pneumonia from the flu. (1) Just like with the flu, having diabetes puts you at an increased risk for developing pneumococcal disease because diabetes affects your ability to fight off infections, and if infected you are at increased risk for developing complications. (2)

Who should get the pneumococcal vaccine?

Adults with Diabetes that are younger than 65, receive 1 dose before age 65, with an additional dose at 65 or older, as long as it has been 5 years since the first dose. (2) If individuals are older than 65, you would receive one dose. (2) If you haven’t had your pneumococcal vaccine, you should schedule yourself to get one.

In addition to the flu and pneumococcal vaccine, it is recommended that individuals with Diabetes also receive Hepatitis B and TDAP (whooping cough booster, tetanus and diphtheria). TDAP is recommended for adults between the ages of 19-64, and adults over 65 that have close contact with infants. (2) Individuals with Diabetes have an increased risk for developing Hepatitis B, and it is recommended that all adults younger than 60 receive Hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is a three part series over 6 months. (2) 

As you can see there are a lot of vaccines that are recommended for individuals with Diabetes. It is important to talk to your health care provider to find out which vaccines you still need to get. It is difficult to remember daily happenings, let alone which vaccines you have and haven’t received. Remember it is important to keep records of all your important health events, like vaccines, just like you keep glucose records, in order to stay organized and knowledgeable about your health.

1,2. Diabetes Self Management  Oct. 2014, page 62-63.,3