NKF Statement on Rule Requiring Vaccinations for Dialysis Facility Staff

November 4, 2021

Today, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), the leading kidney patient organization in the U.S., applauds the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for protecting dialysis patients. A new rule issued today will require COVID-19 vaccination of all staff including employees, licensed practitioners, students, trainees, volunteers and other individuals who provide care, treatment or other services for the healthcare provider or its patients. 

“It’s important to remember that the first person in the U.S. who died from COVID-19 was a dialysis patient,” said Kevin Longino, CEO of National Kidney Foundation and a kidney transplant patient. “Dialysis patients, even those who are fully vaccinated, remain a vulnerable population that must be protected.” 

“We applaud CMS for issuing the new rule requiring vaccination for all those who take care of dialysis patients and thank the staff at dialysis clinics nationwide who have already stepped up to be vaccinated. We also encourage all kidney patients and their care partners, family members and loved ones to get vaccinated,” added Longino.  

View a video from kidney patients who discuss the importance of getting the vaccine. 

About Kidney Disease

In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have kidney disease, also known as chronic kidney disease (CKD)—and approximately 90 percent don’t know they have it.  1 in 3 adults in the U.S. are at risk for kidney disease.  Risk factors for kidney disease include: diabeteshigh blood pressureheart diseaseobesity, and family history. People of Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian American, or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. Black/African American people are more than 3 times as likely as White people to have kidney failure.  Hispanics/Latinos are 1.3 times more likely than non-Hispanics to have kidney failure.

Approximately 785,000 Americans have irreversible kidney failure and need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. About 555,000 of these patients receive dialysis to replace kidney function, 230,000 live with a transplant. Depending on where a patient lives, the average wait time for a kidney transplant can be upwards of three to seven years. Living donations were responsible for a total of 5,726 transplants in 2020. Living organ donation not only saves lives, but it saves money too. Each year, Medicare spends approximately $89,000 per dialysis patient and less than half, $35,000, for a transplant.

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