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Dr. Bill's Commentaries

Lots of shots   (January 9, 2009)

The latest issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine includes recommendations for  immunizations for adults in the United States. The article can be found at Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule: United States, 2009. It has lots of details about each of the recommended shots, such as when to get boosters, and situations where the shots should not be given. And the recommendations are broken down by age, plus there's also a listing of recommended shots for people with certain medical conditions, including a listing for people with diabetes. For people with diabetes, the recommended vaccinations are:

  • Tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis ("Td/Tdap")
  • Human papillomavirus ("HPV") for women through age 26
  • Varicella (chickenpox)
  • Herpes zoster (shingles)
  • Measles, mumps, rubella ("MMR")
  • Influenza (the "flu shot")
  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide ("PPSV") (the "pneumonia shot")
  • And if other risk factors are present, vaccinations against Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and meningococcus.

Should people with diabetes have all these shots? Generally, the answer is yes. Getting a flu shot every year is a standard recommendation, but definitely discuss with your physician about whether you should have the others.

The recommendations do not discuss shots for people outside the United States (for example, yellow fever immunization is not mentioned in this document). If you want information about shots if you travel to other parts of the world, there's lots more information about vaccinations at the CDC's website, at Vaccines & Immunizations.

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Dr. Bill Quick began writing at HealthCentral's diabetes website in November, 2006. These essays are reproduced at D-is-for-Diabetes with the permission of HealthCentral.

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