Flu Shots Are A Must for Those With Diabetes

Hospitalization and death is more likely among individuals with diabetes when they contract influenza than when healthy individuals do, and so influenza vaccination uptake is an important area of scrutiny.

Diabetes is a global challenge. Regardless, researchers are scurrying to determine health care uptake patterns among people with diabetes so they can identify—and address—barriers to care. Hospitalization and death is more likely among individuals with diabetes when they contract influenza than when healthy individuals do, and so influenza vaccination uptake is an important area of scrutiny.

Researchers from Madrid, Spain looked at influenza vaccination uptake among people with diabetes to find characteristics that would predict uptake. They also examined reasons for adherence and non-adherence. Their work, published in the journal Vaccine, indicates that we have room for improvement when it comes to vaccinating people with diabetes.

The team used data from the MADIABETES Study, a primary care—based cohort study conducted in 2013 that married computerized clinical records with results of a telephone survey. The team selected outpatients with type 2 diabetes. Among study participants, 65.7% were immunized with an influenza vaccine in 2013.

Over the years, patients’ vaccination behaviors varied. Between 2007 and 2013 (a 7 year period), patients had received a mean of 3.24 vaccinations for flu. Just short of 20% of participants had not been vaccinated at all in those years, and 23.3% had been vaccinated against pneumococcus.

Older patients who received age-based recommendations following their physician’s advice were more likely to be vaccinated.

Patients with chronic respiratory diseases, previous pneumococcal vaccination, more visits to primary care providers, previous influenza immunizations, and longer histories of diabetes were also more likely to receive an influenza immunization.

Patients with the highest HbA1c numbers were least likely to be vaccinated. This is a concern that indicates people who neglect their diabetes also neglect other health needs.

Men who refused vaccination (41.6%) indicated most often that they simply did not believe they were at risk. Women (32.53%) refused most often because they feared adverse reactions.

The researchers indicated that immunization uptake for influenza vaccine was below desirable levels. Patients who have diabetes need more—and frequent—reminders that they should receive a flu shot. All health care professionals should encourage patients with diabetes to consider influenza vaccination.

Reference

Jiménez-Garcia R, Lopez-de-Andres,A, Hernandez-Barrera V, et al. Influenza vaccination in people with type 2 diabetes, coverage, predictors of uptake, and perceptions. Result of the MADIABETES cohort a 7 years follow up study. Vaccine 2017;35:101-108.