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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
UNITED STATES: US Advisers Recommend Diabetics Get Hepatitis B Vaccine
Alina Selyukh
October 27, 2011
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 vaccination.

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.