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Diabetes and Immunizations:

Don’t Take Chances - Get the Shots You Need.

Catching the flu or pneumonia is no fun for anyone, but if you have diabetes, you’re more likely than others to become very sick.

That’s because diabetes can weaken your immune system, making it harder to fight off the virus. Illness can also make your blood glucose levels rise and put you at risk for complications, such as pneumonia.

Don’t Delay

The statistics are stark: People who have diabetes are about three times more likely than others to die from flu and pneumonia. Fortunately, there is a quick and easy solution: Get an annual influenza (flu) vaccine and apneumonia vaccine (most people only need one pneumonia shot until age 64. At age 65 or older, you may need to be vaccinated again if your first shot was more than five years ago).).

The flu vaccine should be received as soon as it is made available (usually late summer or early fall). It is recommended that people with diabetes receive the shot, rather than the nasal spray.

As a precaution, ask the people you live with—or people you are often around—to get a flu shot as well. The flu shot is not 100% effective, but it’s less likely you’ll catch the flu if those near you don’t have it.

Fall is a good time to think about both pneumonia and flu shots. That’s because flu can sometimes lead to pneumonia, a dangerous lung infection typically caused by bacteria or viruses.

Extra Protection

The pneumonia vaccine guards against the majority of pneumococcal bacteria—the most common cause of pneumonia in the U.S. These same bacteria can also cause bacteremia (a blood infection) or meningitis (infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord). The pneumonia vaccine helps protect you against such severe problems.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) advises everyone with diabetes to receive an annual flu vaccine and the pneumonia vaccine. They also recommended unvaccinated adults with diabetes, who are aged 19-59 years, receive the hepatitis B vaccine series. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to determine which vaccines you may need.

Always consult your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional before changing your daily activity, diet, or adding a supplement. Ask your Rite Aid Pharmacist for more information on diabetes and the importance of vaccinations.

See if your local Rite Aid offers immunizations.


“Diabetes and the Flu.”, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Flu and Pneumonia Shots.” American Diabetes Association,

“Pneumococcal Vaccination.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule, by Vaccine and Age Group.”, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Protect Yourself Against the Flu.” Diabetes Forecast, American Diabetes Assocation.