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Webinar Presents Key Elements of ISN Member Campaigns Leading to Dialysis Patient Prioritisation in National Covid-19 Vaccination Programs

As part of ISN’s global campaign to prioritize COVID-19 vaccinations for the three million patients worldwide currently undergoing dialysis, the ISN held the webinar, “Prioritization of Dialysis Patients in National Covid-19 Vaccination Programs – Lessons Learned from Successful Campaigns,” on March 9, 2021.

The webinar highlighted methods and results from campaigns carried out in Italy, Lebanon, Romania, the United Kingdom, and Uruguay, which led to government policies prioritizing the vaccination of dialysis patients in those countries.

Dialysis patients face the dual challenge of being at a much higher risk of infection from COVID-19 and an increased risk of death compared to the general population.

Panelists discussed key elements of successful campaigns:

  • Liaising as early as possible with policy-makers, providing them with informed data on why dialysis patients are so at risk if infected with COVID-19.
  • Template letters for use by stakeholders and the public to advocate local and national authorities.
  • Rapid and effective deployment of mobile units to vaccinate patients at the entrance of dialysis centers.

Four “I’s” for success were subsequently identified:

  • Information – inform policy-makers on dialysis and why dialysis patients are so at risk.
  • Involvement – involve all relevant stakeholders in the process, including politicians, media, and patient organizations.
  • Investigation – study the data and position yourself as a technical referent.
  • Injection – develop a plan to vaccinate dialysis patients quickly and easily.

This work is part of ISN’s engagement with the WHO and recent call-to-action to vaccinate dialysis patients immediately. The Imperial Renal and Transplant Centre and Imperial College Healthcare National Health Service Trust, London, United Kingdom, responded by vaccinating over 1500 patients receiving in-center hemodialysis across 9 centers within 16 days of their inclusion in the vaccine priority schedule.

To secure the prioritization of dialysis patients in national covid-19 vaccination programs, please contact the ISN Advocacy team for further information on how your country can apply the lessons above.

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