Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists

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Key Vaccines for People With Diabetes

Jul 18, 2018
By: Joanne Rinker, MS, RD, CDE, LDN, FAADE
AADE Director of Practice and Content Development


Diabetes educators should regularly be asking their clients if they are up to date on their vaccines. Can you confidently answer “yes” you have discussed all of the following vaccines with your clients?

1. Influenza (flu) vaccine
2. Pneumococcal vaccination
3. Tdap vaccine
4. Hep B vaccine
5. Zoster (shingles) vaccine

If so, bravo! If not, let me tell you why vaccinating people with diabetes should be a priority! For a person with diabetes (PWD), there are a variety of things that can happen in their body, that wouldn’t happen in the body of a person without diabetes. People with even minimally elevated blood sugar levels have a harder time fighting infections. That means that if a PWD becomes sick, it can take them much longer to feel better and fight off the infection. Additionally, the infection itself acts as a stressor on the body and can raise their blood sugar to dangerously high levels. This can become a vicious cycle, making it very difficult for the PWD to recover.

Now is the time to help PWDs take action. Diabetes educators should strongly recommend their clients get vaccinated and work towards a coordinated strategy with the PWD’s healthcare team to make sure they’re regularly getting preventive vaccinations. Remind them to stay up to date and to keep vaccines on their list of self-care behaviors to prevent illness and improve their quality of life!

Need an engaging resource to start the discussion? AADE has partnered with CDC to bring diabetes educators and their clients a new educational resource page, complete with a printable vaccine guide. Check it out here

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