Introduction: Seasonal influenza vaccination is recommended for diabetics; however, the vaccination uptake rate among diabetics remains low. This study explored the knowledge, attitudes and practices among diabetics in Singapore with regard to influenza and influenza vaccination.
Methods: A survey was conducted among type 1 and 2 diabetes mellitus patients who attended three management centres of the Diabetic Society of Singapore in January 2007. The pilot-tested questionnaire covered influenza and influenza vaccination in terms of the patient demographics, medical history and knowledge, attitudes and practices.
Results: A total of 307 diabetics participated in the study. Of these, 139 (45.3 percent) claimed to know the difference between influenza and the common cold, while 98 (31.9 percent) and 18 (5.9 percent) participants thought that influenza vaccines protected against all influenza strains and provided lifelong immunity, respectively. 247 (80.4 percent) participants were aware that they were at a moderate or higher risk for influenza-related complications, while 181 (58.9 percent) considered vaccination to be effective in preventing influenza and its complications. Only 94 (30.6 percent) participants were previously vaccinated. Among those unvaccinated, 117 (54.9 percent) did not think vaccination was necessary, while 104 (48.8 percent) had never considered it. As observed from the multivariate analysis, income was a key predictor of influenza vaccination. While 241 (78.5 percent) participants cited healthcare professional advice as the main guiding factor for getting vaccinated, 199 (64.8 percent) had never been advised on influenza vaccination. Of the 108 (35.1 percent) participants who had received previous advice on influenza vaccination, the majority had received it from their healthcare professionals.
Conclusion: Uptake of influenza vaccination among diabetics in Singapore is low, and the key predictor is income. Perception and knowledge are the main barriers, and hence, healthcare professionals should educate and encourage vaccination among diabetics.