People with diabetes still face a higher risk for influenza and its complications. National and international guidelines therefore advise that diabetes patients be annually vaccinated against influenza. But the attention for the impact of influenza on diabetes patients is low and so is the influenza vaccine uptake in this group, despite the scientific evidence that influenza vaccination is beneficial for people with diabetes (Vaccine Journal) and WHO’s recommendation to routinely vaccinate 75% of all people at high risk.
Efforts should be made to increase influenza vaccination coverage, but conventional vaccination programmes appear to be inadequate to reach people with diabetes and other strategies should hence be considered. Leading diabetes organizations and ESWI therefore joined forces to forge an active diabetes/influenza community, implementing their action plan to better protect diabetes patients against the flu.
The basis for this unique collaboration was laid on 25 October 2017 when patient organizations, healthcare professionals and academic experts assembled in Leuven, Belgium, for a discussion organized by the Foundation of European Nurses in Diabetes (FEND) and ESWI. Through various lectures and a moderated audience debate, the roundtable reviewed the scientific evidence that underpins vaccination recommendations for diabetes patients, discussed the role of diabetes organizations in preventing influenza and to explore pathways to raise flu awareness amongst patients and their environment.
On 8 November 2018, the diabetes/influenza community will meet again to discuss its achievements and to investigate new opportunities for collaboration and awareness raising activities. Anyone with an interest in enhancing the health of people with diabetes is therefore very welcome to attend this roundtable gathering and to join the diabetes/influenza community. If you are interested in attending kindly contact ESWI manager David De Pooter via firstname.lastname@example.org
Current community members are:
- The International Diabetes Federation (IDF Europe)
- Foundation of European Nurses in Diabetes (FEND)
- Pharmacist Group to the European Union (PGEU)
- Diabetes UK
- Primary Care Diabetes Europe (PCDE)
- Immunology of Diabetes Society (IDS)
- European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD)