Multiple studies have shown that people on dialysis with kidney failure have weaker antibody responses to COVID-19 vaccination than the general population, but new research shows that these people’s immune responses are still capable of protecting against SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe COVID-19. The findings have been published in the journal JASN.
Matthew Oliver, MD, MHS (Sunnybrook Health Science Centre, University of Toronto, Ontario Health) and colleagues analyzed health records for 13,759 individuals receiving maintenance dialysis between December 21, 2020, and June 30, 2021-; 17% were unvaccinated and 83% had received at least one mRNA COVID-19 vaccine dose.
The study included the entire population of maintenance dialysis patients in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province. The patient population was multiracial, with patients receiving both home dialysis and in-center hemodialysis.
There were no statistically significant differences in vaccine effectiveness across age groups, dialysis mode, or vaccine type (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna).
“In many countries, including the United States and Canada, governments and health-care providers prioritised patients on maintenance dialysis for early COVID-19 vaccination. This strategy was correct and significant because our findings show that two doses of an mRNA vaccine significantly protected this population, preventing many hospitalizations and deaths and reducing the burdens on patients, families, and the health-care system “Dr. Oliver stated. “The vaccines’ effectiveness was lower than that seen in general population studies, but they still provided significant protection.” To ensure an optimal immune response, it is now recommended that all adults and teenagers, particularly those who are immunocompromised, receive a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine.