Friday, 31 August 2007

Influenza vaccination recommended for people with diabetes

Filed under: , , , , , ,

Aaaahh ... fall will soon deliver golden trees, crisp autumn air, piles of fallen leaves begging to be jumped in, and the stick of the flu vaccine.

The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) recently issued a report calling for greater influenza vaccination rates among Americans with diabetes. Turns out more than 50 percent of the 21 million people with diabetes do not receive an annual influenza vaccination. This is contrary to the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and the American Diabetes Association.

According to Dr. William Schaffner, NFID's vice president, the impaired immune systems of people with diabetes can result in a higher risk of serious complications from influenza, including impaired blood sugar control. Annually, this infectious disease strikes up to 60 million Americans and kills an average of 36,000 people -- more than all other vaccine-preventable diseases combined. Over 10 percent of deaths linked to influenza and pneumonia are due to diabetes. There are studies citing the benefits of the vaccine for people with diabetes, including reduced hospitalization and death by 72 percent for those with diabetes 18 to 64 years of age, and 80 percent less hospital admissions for children and adults with diabetes.

I'm just speculating, but lack of awareness, lack of access to an affordable vaccine or just plain philosophical disagreement with the need for the vaccine (among other factors) may all play a role in the low influenza vaccination rates for people with diabetes. Just an example, my parents both have type 1, and my mom will stand in line for hours to get a shot (she was hospitalized for influenza in her pre-diabetes days), while my dad always refuses -- he's never had influenza. Read more at Infection Control Today.

No comments: