Important Vaccines for People with Diabetes

The CDC advises that people with diabetes get certain vaccines. Vaccines help prevent infection. They help your immune system learn how to protect your body from bacteria and viruses.

People with diabetes should get:

  • A flu vaccine each year to help protect against influenza

  • Pneumococcal vaccine to help prevent pneumonia and other infections

  • Hepatitis B vaccine to prevent liver infection

  • Tdap vaccine to help prevent tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough

  • Zoster vaccine to help prevent shingles

  • COVID-19 to help protect against coronavirus disease 2019

  • RSV to help protect against severe respiratory syncytial virus

Read below to learn more about why and when to get these vaccines.

Flu vaccine

The flu is an infection caused by a virus. The virus spreads when a person coughs or sneezes. Flu symptoms may include a sudden high fever, chills, body aches, sore throat, runny nose, dry cough, and headache. But people with diabetes who catch the flu may get sicker than other people. The flu can lead to pneumonia. It can cause a dangerously high blood sugar level. In some cases, you may need to be in the hospital.

The best way to protect yourself is to get the flu vaccine. This won't give you full protection. But it makes it less likely that you will have the flu for about the next 6 months. You need a new flu shot each year. The CDC advises getting flu shots in September or October. You can still get a flu shot in January or later. Ask your healthcare provider what vaccine schedule is best for you. It helps if the people you live with get flu shots, too.

Pneumococcal vaccine

Pneumococcal disease is an illness caused by bacteria. It can cause serious infections of the lungs (pneumonia), blood (bacteremia), and covering of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis). These illnesses can be severe and lead to death. Having diabetes raises your risk for serious problems and death from these.

There are a few pneumococcal vaccines. Talk with your healthcare provider about which you should get. Ask the best time to get it.

Hepatitis B vaccine

The vaccine for hepatitis B is advised for people younger than age 60. It may be advised for people age 60 and older depending on their risk of hepatitis B infection. It's done in a series of 3 shots over 6 months. You need all 3 shots to be immune. You may have had some of the hepatitis B vaccine series in the past, but not all 3 shots. Then you only need to have the other shots. You don't need to start over.

Tdap vaccine

This vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough. All people should get this vaccine at least every 10 years. Pregnant people should have an extra dose.

Shingles (zoster) vaccine

This vaccine gives protection against the virus that causes shingles. It's often given in 2 shots. The shingles vaccine is very important if you have had nerve damage (neuropathy).


This is a disease caused by a virus. It spreads very easily from person to person. It infects the lungs and other organs. The disease can be serious and life-threatening. This is most true for people in high-risk groups. These include older adults and people with chronic health problems. The CDC and other experts advise updated COVID-19 vaccines for most age groups to prevent the spread of the infection.


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common respiratory virus that infects the nose, throat, lungs, and breathing passages. Although it usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms, RSV can be serious in older adults and lead to severe illness and hospitalization. Adults with diabetes are at increased risk of severe illness from RSV. One dose of the RSV vaccine is recommended for most adults ages 60 and older.

Talk with your healthcare provider

Before you get any of these vaccines, talk with your healthcare provider. They can help you get vaccines you need at the right times. Keep a record of the vaccines you receive and the dates they were given. This helps make sure you're fully protected.

Online Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Ricardo Rafael Correa Marquez MD
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2023
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