Diabetes News: Hepatitis B Vaccine Now Recommended For Diabetics

by Cindy

Hepatitis B Vaccine For Diabetics

The Centers for Disease Controls Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has updated their recommendations for the vaccination schedule for 2012 and diabetics should take notice because there are new recommendations for patients with diabetes.  It continues to be recommended that all diabetic patients remain up to date on standard childhood vaccinations, tetanus and pertussis.  In addition, diabetics should still continue to get annual influenza vaccination and pneumoccocal vaccinations when they are due.  New for diabetics is the recommendation for the hepatitis B vaccine.

What is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a viral infection that affects the liver.  It affects people all across the globe  and is a typically lifelong infection.  This condition is spread through contact with infected blood and through sexual contact. 

Not all people with hepatitis B will exhibit symptoms of infection. Symptoms of hepatitis B tend to be mild and vague.  Patients may complain of:

  • Fatigue
  • Stomach Upset
  • Poor Appetite
  • Muscle Aches
  • Abdominal Pain

In severe cases patients may experience liver failure, mental status changes, coma and other neurological symptoms.

Who Should Be Vaccinated For Hepatitis B?

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommended that all diabetic patients under the age of 60 be offered the hepatitis B vaccine series.  It is recommended that patients are given this vaccine as soon as it is discovered that they have diabetes.  For individuals over the age of 60, the hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for patients who are at risk for developing hepatitis B.

The hepatitis B vaccine continues to be recommended for:

  • Health care workers
  • People who are incarcerated
  • Patients with certain chronic health conditions affecting immune response (HIV, chronic liver disease)
  • Individuals who engage in risky behaviors (IV drug use, multiple sexual partners)
  • Patients on hemodialysis

The Hepatitis B Vaccine

The hepatitis B vaccine is given as a series of three shots. The second and third shots will be given at 1 month and 6 months after the first vaccine.  Patients with allergies to yeast should not have this vaccine.  The most commonly reported side effects of the hepatitis B vaccine include pain and itching at the injection site, fatigue, headache and fever.

Patients with diabetes should discuss hepatitis B vaccination with their physician to find out if this vaccine is right for you.  Don’t forget that, in addition to the standard vaccinations and hepatitis B, all diabetics should also get the annual flu vaccine and be immunized against pneumoccocus.

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