The CDC, ADA, and Joslin all recommend a flu shot for people with diabetes. According to the CDC, people with diabetes (type 1 and 2), even when well-managed, are at increased risk of severe disease and complications as a result of getting the flu.
Although many people don’t get the flu vaccine, and don’t get the flu, Dr. Mariela Glandt says, “People with diabetes shouldn’t take a chance. Most people with diabetes are not aware that for them, the flu can pose a much bigger threat than it does for people without diabetes.”
When blood sugar levels are elevated, especially above 200mg/dL, the immune cells do not work as efficiently and therefore patients with diabetes may have abnormalities in immune function. Studies have shown that diabetics are sick longer with the flu, have a higher chance of ending up in the hospital, and even an increased risk of death. This is particularly true for patients who have diabetes complications, such as heart disease or kidney disease.
Also, once the patient gets the flu, the body is stressed, and it becomes much more difficult to control blood sugar levels. Often patients need to increase their insulin doses, or if they are not on insulin they might need to increase their medication or temporarily be on insulin in order to keep blood sugar controlled. People with diabetes also have a higher tendency to get dehydrated.
Fortunately there is sufficient evidence to show that people with diabetes generally have appropriate immune responses to the influenza vaccination. Getting the vaccination is effective in reducing complications of influenza, reducing hospital admissions during influenza epidemics, and even in decreasing the number of deaths.
– See more at: Why You Should Get A Flu Shot
The CDC says that people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk of developing pneumonia from the flu, therefore a pneumonia (pneumococcal) vaccine is also recommended for them. A pneumonia vaccine should be part of a diabetes management plan.