Influenza (flu) viruses are detected year-round in the United States, but flu activity often increases in the fall and can present a risk for infection through spring. The exact timing of flu seasons can vary, but with fall already here, diabetes care and education specialists should take the opportunity to educate people with diabetes (PWDs) about the serious risk of complications they could face from vaccine-preventable diseases — complications as serious as hospitalization and sometimes even death.
While group and individual sessions are a great way for diabetes care and education specialists to highlight the five CDC-recommended vaccines for adult PWDs (influenza, Tdap, zoster, pneumococcal, and hepatitis B), other strategies can be used to amplify this message and reach more people. Clinical Pharmacist and Certified Diabetes Educator Marisa Rowen at El Rio Heath in Arizona shares the three steps she took to maximize promotion of vaccines and to increase access to immunizations for PWDs in her healthcare system.
- Identify opportunities for collaboration that reach many PWDs.
“El Rio Health chose to share a vaccine resource with our in-house pharmacies. Knowing that most patients have more contact with pharmacists than other healthcare professionals, this seemed like the best opportunity for us to target people with diabetes.”
- Educate and prompt your collaborators on when and how to recommend vaccines.
“The vaccine resources were divided and sent out to our seven in-house pharmacies. Staff were asked to keep them at the counseling window. Anytime a patient came in and had a prescription for a glucometer, blood glucose testing supplies, insulin or oral medication used to treat diabetes, the staff were encouraged to share the vaccine resource and discuss the information with their patients.”
- Implement policies that make vaccination easy for the PWD.
“Our organization has a walk-in policy with standing orders for most vaccines. This helps to increase access to vaccines for patients of all ages and facilitates a timely response to the patient driven request.”
Become a champion for vaccines this season and help spread the word. Explore AADE’s vaccine content page for more articles and practical resources to help further your vaccine know-how. A resource you can share with PWDs in your practice is CDC’s animated infographic, an interactive educational resource with a printable vaccine guide.