Newswise — Washington, DC (February 25, 2021) —The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) is spearheading efforts to secure direct federal allocation of COVID-19 vaccines to dialysis patients and frontline dialysis workers. This allocation would improve access for a vulnerable patient population, more than half of whom are Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islanders (NHPIs).
Forty-five organizations are urging the Biden-Harris Administration to address this public health crisis by facilitating COVID-19 vaccine allocation to all dialysis patients and frontline health workers in dialysis units.
“Today we are urgently calling on the Biden-Harris Administration to provide a federal allocation of COVID-19 vaccine for people with kidney failure receiving dialysis and for the frontline healthcare workers in the dialysis facilities. Patients with kidney failure are some of the most vulnerable to COVID due to their many co-morbidities. Kidney diseases and COVID both disproportionately impact people of color, so a direct vaccine allocation would both save lives and address racial injustice at the same time. This is a critical moment in this public health battle, and people receiving dialysis need this commitment to healthcare and equity said,”. Susan E. Quaggin, MD, FRCP(C), FASN, President, ASN.
People on dialysis need urgent access to COVID-19 vaccines
- People on dialysis are extremely susceptible to the effects of COVID-19, with COVID-associated mortality exceeding 20%, comparable to or even higher than COVID-associated mortality in long-term care facilities. (1)
- Ninety percent of dialysis patients receive in-center treatment three times a week for three to four hours each day. Since mid-November 2020, the kidney care community has been prepared to distribute and administer COVID-19 vaccinations quickly and safely.
- Most patients on dialysis have multiple co-morbidities, are more vulnerable to infection, and are unable to safely go to a separate vaccination center or pharmacy and wait in line. Dialysis organizations are highly experienced vaccinating patients for seasonal flu and are prepared to vaccinate patients for COVID-19 at this time.
- Providing a direct federal allocation of COVID-19 to dialysis centers enhances trust and confidence in the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, as it will be delivered in a known environment by healthcare professionals with whom patients have longstanding relationships of trust.
In advance of this much-needed allocation, the 45 organizations also encouraged the federal government to urge states to prioritize dialysis patients and staff in their vaccine allocation protocols.
COVID-19 and health equity are paramount issues affecting Americans with kidney diseases and the health professionals who care for them. Tackling these challenges will help improve the health of all Americans.
Read the full letter here.
(1) Sim JJ, et al. COVID-19 and survival in maintenance dialysis. Kidney doi: 10.1016/j. xkme.2020.11.005;