Healthy living with diabetes – Be wise, immunise!

27 April 2022

It is World Immunisation Week! A global event to highlight the collective action needed to promote the use of vaccines and protect people of all ages and their communities against vaccine-preventable diseases.

For over 200 years, countless number of lives have been saved since the creation of vaccines that have prevented a number of illnesses. It is one of the most impactful innovations of all time that is helping to protect generations of people throughout the course of their lives. This year´s theme “Long Life for All” aims to reinforce the importance of equitable access of vaccines to contribute to a long and healthy life for everyone.

An increasing body of evidence suggests that people with diabetes (PwD) are at a higher risk of severe complications from many vaccine-preventable diseases compared to the general population. Even when a person’s diabetes is well managed, some physiological factors such as inflammation or blood pressure can create an environment in the body that makes it harder for the immune system to effectively fight infections. For instance, people living with diabetes are three to six times more likely to be hospitalized with influenza during influenza outbreaks than the general population. PwD who fall sick can induce metabolic stress on the body that can raise blood glucose as well as lead to loss of appetite which can complicate blood glucose management even further. That is why vaccinations are also an important tool for PwD to maintain adequate glucose management.

IDF Europe recommends that six vaccines should be made available free of charge to PwD: Influenza, Pneumococcal, Hep B, Zoster, Tdap and COVID-19 vaccine.

On World Immunisation Week, IDF Europe also calls for government and private entities to implement the following measures:

  1. Raise awareness among, and educate, PwD and healthcare professionals (HCPs) on the benefits and risks of vaccination in relation to the management of their condition, and encourage HCPs to discuss and offer vaccination as a matter of course to PwD.
  2. Make all relevant vaccines available and easily accessible free of charge to all PwD, including for hard-to-reach, marginalized and disadvantaged groups.
  3. Set up more effective monitoring systems for vaccination coverage to inform future policy making.
  4. Implement WHO/Europe’s Tailoring Immunization Programmes to develop solutions “to support, motivate and enable people to be vaccinated”.

Click here to read more about IDF Europe´s position on the vaccination of PwD.