Vaccinations for Adults with Diabetes


We know that high blood glucose levels will prevent our body and especially the immune system from properly fighting other conditions. If we live with diabetes, of any of its types, our medical follow-up should not focus exclusively on our blood glucose levels and diet but we will also have to see a doctor very often to address other health issues. In addition, good communication between health care providers and patients is vital because it’s necessary for doctors who aren’t diabetes specialists to know how to provide treatment and prescribe the right medication.  

The World Health Organization (WHO) emphasizes vaccination to prevent serious health issues. A vaccine resembles a microorganism that is often created from a weakened form of the microbe, its toxins or some of its proteins. This is how this agent helps our immune system recognize toxins and keep us healthy. 

To date, global vaccination coverage has remained the same over the past few years. In fact, in 2018, the WHO reported that 86 percent (116.3 million) of infants, globally, received all three doses of the DTP3 vaccine, which protects them against infectious diseases that could cause disability or serious illnesses and death. However, in 2018, 129 countries received reached at least 90 percent coverage of DTP3. 

Managing health conditions such as influenza, measles and others is complex but if we add glycemic management, it could involve a lot of work and would have serious consequences if not treated adequately. According to the CDC, high blood glucose levels can make it harder for your immune system to fight infections

Per the American Association of Diabetes Educators, though people with diabetes should remain up-to-date with their vaccinations, health professionals should ensure they’re aware of the following ones: 

Vaccine Application
Influenza Annual vaccination
Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis) One dose in childhood (one dose for those adults who have not been previously vaccinated) and revaccination at 10 years
Herpes Zoster (shingles) One dose in people over 50 years that can be repeated every five years
Pneumococcus A single dose and in some cases the attending physician will decide if revaccination is required at five years.
Hepatitis B Generally, there are three doses and newborns should receive it, preferably in the delivery room or on the following days, the second dose is at least one month after the first application and the last six months after the first dose.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Association of Diabetes Educators have resources for people with diabetes and also for health professionals on this interesting topic. These organizations created collaboratively a vaccination guide that aims to discuss and promote communication between health professionals and their patients to promote vaccination.

Outside of the United States? Check your country’s vaccination guidelines, they may vary by country.  If you live with diabetes, talk to your health care team about the vaccines you need to remain in good health.

WRITTEN BY Mariana Gómez , POSTED 09/06/19, UPDATED 06/22/22

Mariana is a diabetes educator and a licensed psychologist specialized in narrative. In 2008, Mariana started a blog where she shares her experiences and diabetes knowledge with others and she began being an active advocate through social media. She is considered a diabetes influencer in Latin America and has participated in several conferences, events and TV shows dedicated to diabetes education in the last years. She is proud mother of a teenager.