Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Panel Recommends Hepatitis B Vaccine for Diabetes Patients

Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Votes to Recommend Vaccine for Patients Under 60
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Oct. 25, 2011 -- Do you have diabetes? Get the hepatitis B vaccine, says the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

By a 12-2 vote, the ACIP strongly recommended the hepatitis B vaccine for diabetes patients under age 60 who have not been fully vaccinated. It also urged hepatitis vaccination of some older diabetes patients.

Up to age 60, people with diabetes have twice the risk of hepatitis B as those without diabetes. Yet only 17% of those living with diabetes (and 26% of those without diabetes) have been fully vaccinated against hepatitis B.

Diabetes patients over age 60 may also be at increased risk. There have been a number of devastating outbreaks in nursing homes where hepatitis B was accidentally spread by shared glucose monitors.

Lifetime Protection Against Hepatitis B

The ACIP balked at making a stronger recommendation for older diabetes patients. Committee members were strongly influenced by the cost of vaccinating all over-60 people with diabetes. Also a factor in their decision is data showing that the vaccine is less likely to be effective in those who are frail and elderly.

The hepatitis vaccine is most effective in young adults. If they haven't already been vaccinated, people should get the hepatitis B vaccine as soon as they learn of their diabetes diagnosis, the ACIP advises. The three- or four-dose series offers protection that usually lasts a lifetime.

The hepatitis B virus infects the liver. While some people fight off the infection, others don't. Some 1.25 million Americans have long-lasting (chronic) hepatitis B infection. In the U.S., hepatitis B kills 3,000 to 5,000 people a year.

The ACIP is made up of independent experts who advise the CDC and FDA on vaccination policy. The committee's recommendations form the basis of the U.S. immunization schedules.

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
jennie brand miller

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner