Many people with diabetes aren’t getting recommended vaccinations

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Many of us put off or don't get vaccinated against the flu and other diseases. A new report finds large percentages of people with diabetes are not getting those shots even though they're at higher risk of complications and death from the diseases.

An ounce of prevention is offered to patients at Swope Health Central.

"As much as we offer it, a patient can still deny it, and I see that quite a bit," said Shelby Collins, a nurse practitioner.

She said that includes people with diabetes. Christine Burks gets vaccines, but knows why others don't.

"Shots in general have a bad name. They have a bad rap. People don't like needles. And they always say you're being injected with the virus," Burks said.

"And that is not at all true," Collins said.

Myths could be one factor in many people with diabetes not getting recommended shots. According to the new report from the National Center for Health Statistics, 61% received the flu vaccine in the previous year.

"If you were to contract the flu, there's more risk of complications, hospitalizations and death," said Collins, referring to diabetes patients.

Only 52% of people with diabetes had ever received a pneumonia shot. Just 27% of those over 60 had received the shingles vaccine, and only 17% had ever had hepatitis B vaccination.

Burks said even though the shots don't provide 100% protection, they can still be a big help.

"I ended up with the flu and it lasted a lot shorter -- it was shorter period," she said.

That's why she's getting the shot again this year. The nurse practitioner said many uninsured or under-insured people think cost is a barrier, but safety net clinics have resources to help patients get the shots they need.