Reuters (10.25.11) - Thursday, October 27, 2011
CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on
Tuesday recommended that adult diabetics under age 60 be
vaccinated against hepatitis B virus, and it said those over
60 also may get the HBV vaccine.
This is the first time ACIP has made an HBV vaccine
recommendation for diabetics. Studies have found that people
with diabetes under age 60 are more than twice as likely to
become infected as non-diabetics. Researchers said the studies
did not find a significant increase in HBV infections among
diabetics over 60. For this population, the panel allowed
flexibility for consultation with doctors on the need for HBV
Whether diabetics should get vaccinated has been discussed for
several years in response to studies indicating their
increased risk of acquiring the virus, generally through
unsterile blood glucose monitoring. Any lapse in sterility
when puncturing the skin to get a drop of blood for the
monitor, such as reusing the devices or supplies on several
people, can increase the risk of HBV exposure.
Younger people are more responsive to the vaccine, the
efficacy of which could wane over time, researchers said. With
two-thirds of diabetics diagnosed by age 60, vaccination of
diabetics at younger ages could protect more of them sooner.