Vaccinating people on dialysis will save lives and improve public health.
The American Society of Nephrology (ASN), the European Renal Association-European Dialysis and Transplant Association (ERA-EDTA), and the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) urge immediate prioritization of COVID-vaccine distribution to people undergoing dialysis treatment in dialysis units throughout the world.
As presidents of the three global kidney organizations, we urge all governments to prioritize delivery of COVID-19 vaccine to all dialysis patients.
People who have kidney failure cannot live without dialysis treatment. They are also at increased risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection compared to the general population (1-6).
Most people with kidney failure are treated in dialysis facilities. These patients are unable to self-isolate, because they must travel to dialysis facilities three days a week, and stay in the facilities 3-4 hours each day, to receive these lifesaving treatments. They are also typically too sick and vulnerable to travel to public vaccination locations, underscoring the need to provide them access to the vaccine in their dialysis units.
As detailed in this recent editorial, “vaccinating dialysis patients may have the highest relative impact of all health care groups, through reducing infections, mortality, and burden on the health care system.”(7) These patients, and the frontline staff and clinicians who care for them, urgently need direct access to the vaccine. Dialysis center staff are highly skilled at caring for patients, including providing annual influenzaand other vaccinations, and will be able to advise patients, and deliver vaccines, in a safe environment.
ASN, ERA-EDTA, and ISN stand ready to support efforts to act on this urgent need to expedite dialysis patient, staff, and clinician access to the COVID-19 vaccine in dialysis units, which will save lives and improve public health.
Vivekanand Jha, MBBS, MD, DM, PhD, FRCP, FAMS
President, International Society of Nephrology
Susan E. Quaggin, MD, FASN
President, American Society of Nephrology
Christoph Wanner, MD
President, European Renal Association-European Dialysis and Transplant Association
1. ERA-EDTA Council; ERACODA Working Group. Chronic kidney disease is a key risk factor for severe COVID-19: a call to action by the ERA-EDTA. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2021 Jan 1;36(1):87-94. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfaa314. PMID: 33340043; PMCID: PMC7771976.
2. Gansevoort RT, Hilbrands LB. CKD is a key risk factor for COVID-19 mortality. Nat Rev Nephrol. 2020 Dec;16(12):705-706. doi: 10.1038/s41581-020-00349-4. PMID: 32848205; PMCID: PMC7447963.
3. Hilbrands LB, Duivenvoorden R, Vart P et al for the ERACODA Collaborators. COVID-19-related mortality in kidney transplant and dialysis patients: results of the ERACODA collaboration. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2020 Nov 1;35(11):1973-1983. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfaa261. PMID: 33151337; PMCID: PMC7665620.
4. Ozturk S, Turgutalp K, Arici M et al. Mortality analysis of COVID-19 infection in chronic kidney disease, haemodialysis and renal transplant patients compared with patients without kidney disease: a nationwide analysis from Turkey. 2020 Dec 4:35(12):208302095. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfaa271.
5. De Meester J, De Bacquer D, Naesens M, Meijers B, Couttenye MM, De Vriese AS; NBVN Kidney Registry Group. Incidence, Characteristics, and Outcome of COVID-19 in Adults on Kidney Replacement Therapy: A Regionwide Registry Study. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2021 Feb;32(2):385-396. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2020060875. Epub 2020 Nov 5. PMID: 33154174.
6. Kronbichler A, Anders H-J, Fernandez- Juárez GM et al. Recommendations for the use of COVID-19 vaccines in patients with immune-mediated kidney diseases. Nephrol Dial Transplant 2021 Mar doi.org/10.1093/ndt/gfab064
7. Francis A, Baigent C, Ikizler TA, Cockwell P, Jha V. The urgent need to vaccinate dialysis patients against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2: a call to action. Kidney Int. 2021 Feb 12:S0085-2538(21)00177-0. doi: 10.1016/j.kint.2021.02.003. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33582109; PMCID: PMC7879104.