COVID-19 Vaccination Protects Adults on Dialysis, Study Results Show

Despite their lower antibody responses, patients who are vaccinated receive protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe disease.

Individuals with kidney failure who are undergoing dialysis are still able to protect themselves against SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe COVID-19, according to the results of a study from the American Society of Nephrology.

Matthew Oliver, MD, MHS, and his colleagues analyzed health records for 13,759 individuals receiving maintenance dialysis between December 21, 2020, and June 30, 2021. Of these individuals, 17% were unvaccinated, and 83% had received at least 1 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine dose.

The study was conducted in the entire maintenance dialysis population of Ontario, Canada, which included a multicultural group of individuals and those who received both home dialysis and in-center hemodialysis.

The findings showed that there were 663 SARS-CoV-2 infections, along with 323 hospitalizations and 94 deaths during the study period. By comparison to the individuals who were unvaccinated, those who had received 1 COVID-19 vaccine dose were 41% less likely to become infected with SARS-CoV-2 and 46% less likely to develop severe COVID-19 that required hospitalization or resulted in death. In addition, the individuals who had received 2 doses were 69% and 83% less likely to become infected or experience severe disease, respectively.

In the unvaccinated group, the risk of hospitalization was 52%, and the mortality rate was 16%, whereas the risk of hospitalization in the 2-dose group was 30%, with a mortality rate of 10%. Additionally, there were no significant differences in vaccine effectiveness among age groups, mode of dialysis, or vaccine type.

“Governments and health care providers prioritized patients on maintenance dialysis for early COVID-19 vaccination in many countries, including the U.S. and Canada. This strategy was correct and important because our results show that 2 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,” Oliver, who is the medical director of the home dialysis program at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and an associate professor of medicine at the University of Toronto in Canada, said in a statement.

“The effectiveness of the vaccines was less than that seen in studies in the general population but still provided substantial protection,” he said.

Reference

COVID-19 vaccination protects adults on dialysis against infection and severe disease. American Society of Nephrology. News release. March 9, 2022. Accessed March 29, 2022. https://www.asn-online.org/about/press/releases/ASN_PR_20220309_JASN.ReleaseOliverF.pdf