Diabetes and Influenza-Attributable Illness: The Rationale for Targeted Influenza Vaccinations in Adults with Diabetes

  • Author / Creator
    Lau, Darren C H
  • While guidelines for seasonal influenza vaccinations single out working age (< 65) adults with diabetes, vaccination rates in this group remain below national targets. Historically, there has been limited evidence to support these guidelines. This dissertation comprises four studies investigating the clinical need for, and benefits of, vaccination; and identifying effective means of improving vaccination rates in adults with diabetes, emphasizing those of working age. Our first two studies identified the effects of influenza on a large population-based cohort. In working age adults with diabetes, influenza contributed a substantial proportion of visits and hospitalizations for influenza-like illness (13%), pneumonia and influenza (PI) hospitalizations (26%), and all-cause hospitalizations (6%) during influenza season. The effect of influenza on all-cause hospitalizations was higher in adults with diabetes. However, such individuals did not experience increased deaths or hospitalizations attributable to influenza when followed after acute respiratory infections. These results suggest that adults with diabetes indeed experience a higher relative frequency, though not severity, of illness attributable to influenza. We then examined the effectiveness of influenza vaccine in working age adults with diabetes, compared to the elderly, for whom vaccination recommendations are well accepted. We observed comparable relative reductions in PI (43-55%) and all-cause (28-34%) hospitalizations, in all groups – both during and outside of influenza season. These results suggest that many observational studies, our own included, have over-estimated the benefits of vaccine. In practice, public health authorities remain committed to influenza vaccination despite uncertainty in the supporting evidence. We thus performed a systematic review summarizing the effectiveness of interventions for improving influenza and pneumococcal vaccination rates in community-dwelling adults. Interventions that assign vaccination responsibilities to non-physician personnel, or that activate patients through personal contact showed particular promise, although the small extent of benefits suggests a need for further innovation. We have contributed new evidence showing that efforts to mitigate the effects of influenza in diabetic adults may be warranted by increased risk, although the benefits of vaccination remain uncertain. Our work highlights a need for randomized trials of vaccine effectiveness, and for studies examining the local factors mitigating or potentiating efforts to improve vaccination rates.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2012
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Majumdar, Sumit R (Medicine, University of Alberta)
    • Kumar, Deepali (Medicine, University of Alberta)
    • Kwong, Jeffrey C (Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto)
    • Eurich, Dean T (Public Health Sciences, University of Alberta)