August 13, 2021, New York, NY— The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) applauds the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for amending the emergency use authorizations for the Pfizer and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to allow people who are immune compromised to receive a third dose. NKF now urges the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to officially recommend a third dose so that immune compromised patients can immediately start better protecting themselves from the virus.
“We applaud the FDA for authorizing a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for people who are immune compromised, such as kidney transplant recipients,” said Joseph Vassalotti, MD, Chief Medical Officer, National Kidney Foundation. “Several previously published studies indicated, people with solid organ transplants, like kidney transplants, and others who are immune compromised do not receive the same level of antibody immunity from the COVID-19 vaccine about 40 to 50% of the time compared to the general population. Dialysis treated patients had COVID-19 vaccine antibody immunity in about 80 to 90% of cases in other studies. Today’s authorization for a third dose is a great sigh of relief to kidney patients and the physicians who care for them.”
In a previous letter sent to the CDC last May, NKF urged the agency to urgently conduct research on the effectiveness of the vaccine in immune compromised patients and to conduct studies to determine if a booster shot may be required to offer more protection from COVID-19. The NKF urges the CDC to offer specific treatment recommendations, including specific populations to consider additional vaccine doses, such as solid organ transplant recipients and those treated with dialysis.
Any kidney patients and members of their households who are not yet vaccinated should urgently get vaccinated. Immune compromised patients who become infected with COVID-19 should seek treatment with antibody therapy right away and not wait for symptoms to develop.
For more information about COVID-19 and kidney disease, visit kidney.org/covid-19 or call our toll-free helpline, 855-NKF-CARES.
Kidney Disease Facts
In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and approximately 90 percent don’t know they have it. 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. are at risk for chronic kidney disease. Risk factors for kidney disease include: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and family history. People of Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian American, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. Blacks or African Americans are almost 4 times more likely than White Americans to have kidney failure. Hispanics are 1.3 times more likely than non-Hispanics to have kidney failure.
Approximately 750,000 Americans have irreversible kidney failure and need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. More than 500,000 of these patients receive dialysis at least three times per week to replace kidney function. Nearly 100,000 Americans are on the waitlist for a kidney transplant right now. Depending on where a patient lives, the average wait time for a kidney transplant can be upwards of three to seven years.
About the National Kidney Foundation
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S. For more information about NKF, visit www.kidney.org.