People with diabetes face a higher risk for influenza and its complications. National and international guidelines therefore advise that diabetes patients be annually vaccinated against influenza.
The evidence that underpins these guidelines has long been fragmented and underexposed. Consequently, attention for the impact of influenza on diabetes patients is low and so is the influenza vaccine uptake in this group, despite WHO’s target to routinely vaccinate 75% of all people at high risk. In fact, estimations from recent years indicate vaccination rates for diabetes patients between 50% and 62% in the US, but only 10% in Poland and 40% in Germany.
It was therefore high time to assemble all currently available data about the impact of influenza on diabetes patients and to review current influenza prevention strategies. ESWI has undertaken this important endeavour and in its recently submitted paper (Vaccine Journal), ESWI has reviewed the scientific base for recommending routine vaccination of diabetes patients against influenza to find that flu vaccination is undoubtedly justified. But clearly, efforts should be made to increase vaccination coverage. Conventional vaccination programmes appear to be inadequate to reach high risk groups and hence other strategies should be considered.
The diabetes community and ESWI therefore join forces to discuss strategies to better protect diabetes patients against the flu. We kindly invite patient organizations, healthcare professionals and academic experts to join us in a one-day symposium. Through various lectures and a moderated audience debate, the symposium aims to:
- review the scientific evidence that underpins vaccination recommendations for diabetes patients
- discuss the role in influenza prevention of organisations working with/for patients with diabetes
- explore pathways to raise flu awareness amongst patients and their environment