When working with residents who have chronic diseases, such as diabetes, it’s important for long-term care pharmacy providers to consider all facets of care, including vaccinations. So what’s the connection between vaccines and diabetes? There are two very important reasons why vaccines have a high level of importance for residents with diabetes—both Type 1 and Type 2. First, even if tightly controlled, diabetes has an effect on the immune system where it is harder for the body to fight infections. This increases the potential likelihood for infections including those that may be preventable with a vaccination. Secondly, residents with diabetes are at risk for more severe complications compared to residents who do not have diabetes. For example, some infections such as influenza can increase blood glucose levels to dangerously high levels. People with diabetes also have an increased risk of death from pneumonia and bacteremia. The CDC has identified five vaccinations that should be carefully considered for administration in residents with diabetes. They include the influenza, pneumococcal, hepatitis B, zoster, and Tdap vaccines. Let’s review some of the key reasons why these vaccines should receive special consideration from your post-acute care pharmacy team and the team at large for residents with diabetes.
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