Getting Vaccinated with Diabetes

Diabetes puts you at greater risk of severe infections due to immune system weakening. These vaccines are recommended for individuals with diabetes.


If you have diabetes, you are more likely to have a weakened immune system, which puts you at greater risk for severe infections. Vaccines are proven to reduce the risk of developing severe symptoms related to some viral and bacterial diseases. In this post we explain which vaccines are recommended for individuals with diabetes, and how they can protect you from severe illness and hospitalization.

Diabetes and Infection Prevention

Several of the body’s natural defenses to bacteria and viruses are impaired due to the effects of diabetes. These weakened defenses make people with diabetes more likely to contract an illness and less able to fight it off. Consider adopting the following techniques to reduce your risk of infection or serious illness:

  • Hand washing
  • Disinfecting surfaces
  • Healthy lifestyle (exercising, eating well, adequate sleep)
  • Avoiding contact with sick people
  • Vaccination

What Are Vaccines and How Do They Work?

A vaccine is a medication that prevents someone from becoming severely ill from a viral or bacterial infection. A needle injection delivers the vaccine into a muscle, typically at the top of the arm. This injection contains parts of a pathogen (bacterial or viral) that are too weak to cause an infection. Once injected, the body’s immune system reacts to the pathogens by creating antibodies and mounting other defenses to protect the body from infection. As the body eliminates the bacteria or virus, special white blood cells (T cells) store the memory of the pathogen—like an instruction manual—for future use in case of reinfection.

When a virus or bacteria enters the body of a vaccinated individual, their immune system’s T cells recognize the pathogen and initiate a response. Because the body can quickly identify the pathogen and begin attacking it before a major infection occurs, the risk of severe illness is significantly reduced.

Why do I Feel Sick After Getting Vaccinated?

When receiving a vaccine, your immune system mounts a full-blown defense against the pathogen injected into your body, which may cause side effects such as headaches, fatigue, or chills. This is a normal immune response, and it is a common reaction to a vaccine. These effects are temporary, typically mild; the minimal discomfort most people experience far outweighs the risk of the potentially serious symptoms of a full-blown infection.

Ensure you are feeling well on the day of your scheduled vaccination to reduce the chance of developing side effects after your shot. If you are sick or feel like you may be getting sick, it is best to reschedule your vaccination until you feel better.

A small percentage of people may have severe or life-threatening allergies to some of the ingredients in certain vaccines. Such a reaction is not a normal immune response and should be immediately addressed by a healthcare professional. It is important to talk with your doctor before receiving any vaccine if you have had allergic reactions to vaccines in the past.

Which Vaccines Should I Get?

With dozens of vaccines available on the market today, it can be difficult to determine which are essential to keep you safe. The CDC has compiled a list of the most important vaccinations for individuals with diabetes, including:

  • Hepatitis B (HepB)
  • Influenza
  • Pneumococcal (Pneumovax)
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough (Tdap, Td)
  • Shingles (Shingrix)

Vaccinations for other diseases, such as hepatitis A, human papillomavirus, measles, mumps, rubella, and meningitis may be necessary depending on your age and other risk factors. Talk with your doctor if you have questions about receiving any of these vaccines.

COVID-19 Vaccination

Individuals with preexisting health conditions are at high risk for experiencing the severe effects of the COVID-19 virus. Individuals with diabetes are highly encouraged to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to reduce their risk of hospitalization or death.

There are three COVID-19 vaccines available In the United States: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. All three vaccines are proven to reduce the spread, hospitalization, and death associated with coronavirus infections. COVID-19 vaccines are available to all citizens for free at most major pharmacies. Visit Vaccines.com to find available locations near you.

COVID-19 Booster Shots

As of October 21st, 2021, the CDC recommends booster shots for select individuals who have previously received the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

You are encouraged to receive a booster dose if you received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine over six months ago and are:

  • 65 years or older
  • Age 18+ with underlying medical conditions or are living or working in a high-risk setting.

A booster dose is recommended if you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine more than two months ago and are 18+ years old.





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