Infectious Disease

Sufferers with kidney illness needs to be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccines

December 22, 2020

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The National Kidney Foundation released a statement calling on the federal government to give priority to patients with kidney disease and their contacts for receiving COVID-19 vaccines.

According to the statement, it is an “ethical assignment” as this patient population is at high risk of serious consequences if they become infected with the virus.

Clock and kidney

Source: Adobe Stock

“We urge the federal government to give priority to kidney patients and kidney carers as well as residents of long-term care facilities and health care workers in access to COVID-19 vaccines in order to reduce the increased risk of severe morbidity and mortality due to the novel coronavirus,” wrote the NKF.

The statement also addressed which subgroups of patients and caregivers should be prioritized the most, with those receiving dialysis at the center and staff at the top of the list.

“While dialysis facilities are a convenient place to vaccinate kidney patients at risk, facilities may not have the supplies to safely store the vaccine,” the NKF wrote of possible distribution plans. “It is important that dialysis facilities, including those in places where kidney patients are cared for, have the support and care they need to rapidly implement priority vaccination practices.”

Other high risk groups recommended by the NKF are: “Immediate” vaccination:

  • Patients on home dialysis;
  • Patients who have had a kidney transplant;
  • Patients with kidney disease who are also immunocompromised;
  • other patients with chronic kidney disease; and
  • People who live in the same household as a patient with kidney disease.

The NKF stressed that the emphasis should be placed on vaccinations for these people as certain populations in the US are disproportionately affected by the pandemic – including the black and Hispanic communities.

The statement also called for greater involvement of patients with kidney disease in research and studies related to vaccines.

“It’s worth noting that few of the vaccine candidates have been fully tested in people with kidney disease or in transplant recipients,” the organization wrote. “NKF urges policymakers, vaccine manufacturers and developers to carefully monitor and collect data on vaccine safety and efficacy in kidney patients to ensure patient safety and inform future vaccine development.”

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