independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Diabetics urged to receive flu vaccine every winter

PEOPLE who suffer from diabetes are one of the "at risk" groups urged to get the flu vaccine every winter.



The flu can be particularly harmful for diabetics and while the flu vaccine is not 100pc foolproof, getting the jab does reduce the chances of serious illness if the virus does strike.

Despite the advice, nearly four in ten are still not getting the jab -- so a team of doctors at the Mercy Hospital in Cork tried to find out more about the low uptake.

They looked at patient records and also carried out a study over three months at a diabetes outpatient clinic. 200 people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes were questioned.

Uptake of seasonal influenza vaccine in the previous year was 64.5pc. Older age, increasing duration of diabetes and history of recent GP visits significantly increased frequency of influenza vaccination over a five-year period.

Those most likely to have the flu vaccine the previous year had been given a GP recommendation. They were also more likely to be over 65 years of age.

The uptake of the pneumococcal vaccine, which protects against pneumonia and meningitis, was 22pc. Significant predictors of pneumococcal vaccine uptake included GP recommendation and the patient having chronic kidney disease.

The flu vaccine must be given every year but the pneumococcal vaccine need only be administered once or twice in a lifetime.

They said that given this study's finding of the strength of a simple GP recommendation, an opportunistic but targeted approach is perhaps the most feasible and inexpensive one.

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