Health and Family Services Cabinet
DPH Encourages People Living with Diabetes to Be Vaccinated
Throughout November – recognized nationally as American Diabetes Month - the Department for Public Health (DPH) is reminding Kentuckians living with diabetes of the importance of influenza and pneumococcal vaccines.
DPH is joining the American Diabetes Association to raise awareness of this important issue. Health officials and educators are using this time to teach Kentuckians about diabetes, particularly issues important for people living with diabetes -- such as vaccinations.
“Even though the number of Kentuckians with diabetes who received a pneumococcal or influenza vaccine has improved over the past 10 years, studies also indicate nearly half of all Kentuckians with diabetes have not received these critical vaccinations,” said Janice Haile, R.N., certified diabetes educator (CDE) in the Kentucky Diabetes Prevention and Control Program. “It’s important that more Kentuckians who have diabetes begin receiving these vaccines in order to prevent the onset of these illnesses, both of which can be deadly for people with diabetes.”
Kentuckians of all ages and backgrounds live with diabetes. An estimated 376,000 Kentuckians have diabetes, with more than 109,000 of these individuals remaining undiagnosed. The commonwealth ranks seventh (tied with two other states) in the nation for the highest percentage of the adult population diagnosed with diabetes.
Since 1993, the age-adjusted rate for Kentuckians with diabetes receiving an annual influenza vaccination has increased from 30 percent to slightly more than 50 percent.
Vaccination rates have increased across all categories - male, female, 18-64, and 65 and older. The oldest age group now has the highest rate of vaccination at 74 percent.
Similarly, the rate of pneumococcal vaccination among Kentuckians with diabetes also has shown a dramatic increase since 1993, with the age-adjusted rate increasing 95 percent between 1993 (21.1 percent) and 2004 (41.1 percent). Still, almost 60 percent of Kentuckians with diabetes do not receive the vaccination.
“We’re pleased to see this kind of progress in the numbers of people getting immunized,” said William Hacker M.D., acting undersecretary for health and public health commissioner in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. “We hope this trend will continue and more people living with diabetes will understand the importance of preventing the onset of these illnesses."
Kentucky diabetes data may be found in The Impact of Diabetes on the Commonwealth of Kentucky, 2005. This publication is available on the Kentucky Diabetes Prevention and Control Program’s Web site www.chfs.ky.gov/dph/ach/diabetes or by contacting Lonna Fraine at firstname.lastname@example.org or (502) 564-7996.
Other useful resources include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Information Line at (800) 232-2522 or the American Diabetes Association, 800-DIABETES.