Why should you be vaccinated if you have diabetes?

People living with diabetes are at high risk for certain infections. They also tend to have more serious or life-threatening forms of these infections. Fortunately, there are vaccines which can help to prevent these infections from happening. Many people worldwide experience long-term consequences or die as a result of these infections, which is why vaccinating against them is so important.

“Vaccines produce immunity by exposing our immune system to inactivated versions of bacteria or viruses, or parts of these organisms which do not cause disease. This helps our immune systems to be stronger fighters against these infections in future,” says​ Dr Bee Yong Mong​, Head, SingHealth Duke-NUS Diabetes ​Centre, and Senior Consultant, Department of Endocrinology​, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group.

What are the common infections which may affect people living with diabetes?

  1. Influenza

  2. Influenza is a virus which affects the respiratory tract, and is spread by respiratory droplets. It may cause milder illness such as an upper respiratory tract infection (the “flu”), but may also cause more serious illness such as pneumonia (lung infection).

  3. Pneumococcal disease

  4. Pneumococcus is a type of bacteria which is spread by respiratory droplets. It can cause pneumonia, brain and bloodstream infections. It can cause serious illness and lifelong complications.

  5. Hepatitis B

  6. Hepatitis B is a virus which infects the liver. It can be passed from mother to child during childbirth, or via contact with contaminated blood or body fluids. It can cause liver inflammation and failure, and liver cancer.

See next page for information on recommended vaccinations for children and adults with diabetes​.

​​Ref: O17