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Help Secure the Prioritization of Dialysis Patients in National COVID-19 Vaccination Programs

Following British colleagues’ recent success in convincing the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to urgently amend its prioritization schedule and aim to vaccinate all adult dialyis patients by mid-February 2021, and our Italian colleagues’ success in convincing their national authorities to prioritize Chronic Kidney Disease patients in the Italian Vaccination Plan, I wrote to the WHO’s Director General to request his support in replicating such initiatives amongst other Member States.


Referencing the recent ISN paper – The urgent need to vaccinate dialysis patients against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2: a call to action – published in Kidney International, I highlighted the plight of the over 3 million1 patients worldwide with advanced chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These patients face the dual challenge of being both at higher (up to 20 times greater than the general population) risk of infection from SARS-CoV-2, due to their inability to self-isolate as a result of requiring regular in-center care and having a disproportionately higher level of suffering from adverse outcomes once infected.

This lethal combination results in a risk of death several fold greater than those infected and hospitalized from the (age adjusted) general population.

This is especially tragic when one considers that dialysis patients are on average younger (mean age 65-70 years) than the classic high-risk group of those aged 85 and older, with larger potential gains in life-years saved by the vaccine.

Acccordingly, I would call on you all to seek to replicate the successes of our British and Italian colleagues in your respective countries, and offer the ISN’s support for these efforts.

We will be organising an expert panel discussion – where British and Italian experts will discuss how their approaches could be adopted for use in other countries – and also attach a visual abstract of the KI paper for your use in local communications.

Please contact our Advocacy Director, Paul Laffin, for further information about this initiative.

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