As more and more people in the United States receive the COVID-19 vaccine, researchers have been able to learn more about efficacy rates in different patient populations. Unfortunately, preliminary research suggests that efficacy rates may be lower in both dialysis and transplant patients.
In a small study, published April 6, 2021 on CJASN ePress, researchers found that, although study participants on hemodialysis did develop a substantial antibody response following two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine, it was significantly lower than the response of the control group comprised of participants not on dialysis. It was also found that older patients, regardless of chronic medical conditions, were more likely to develop less of a response.
A recent study from a team at Johns Hopkins found that in transplant patients, the first dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines produced no detectable antibodies in 46% of study participants. The second dose did make a difference, with 39% having no response after the first dose and then producing an antibody response after the second, but researchers still encourage patients to take precautions to protect themselves and others.
Although it appears the vaccine may not offer the same level of protection for dialysis and transplant patients, they do still offer some protection against COVID-19, which is better than nothing. It is also extremely important to continue taking precautions – such as wearing a mask while around others, social distancing, and washing your hands – even if you are vaccinated, as it does not mean you are immune. If you have any questions or concerns about the vaccine, speak with your doctor, as he/she can provide more information and help you make a plan that fits your specific needs.
Read the full study about antibody response in dialysis patients on CJASN’s website: https://cjasn.asnjournals.org/content/early/2021/04/05/CJN.03500321
Learn more about the study on transplant patients on the Boston Globe’s website: https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/05/08/nation/even-after-second-dose-covid-19-vaccines-may-not-provide-protection-transplant-recipients/