Patients on Dialysis are More Willing to Get Vaccine than General Population, Investigator Presents at the NKF’s Annual Professional Meeting

Late-breaking presentations shared before thousands at virtual NKF’s 2021 Spring Clinical Meetings

April 7, 2021—New York, NY — Today, a new study shows that patients on dialysis are more willing than the general population to accept the COVID-19 vaccine

The study titled “SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Acceptability in Patients on Dialysis: A Nationwide Survey” was presented live before the National Kidney Foundation’s virtual 2021 Spring Clinical Meetings of thousands of kidney health professionals from around the country.

“This is good news for the ability to reach high levels of COVID-19 vaccination in patients on dialysis, because patients on dialysis have higher risk for death or hospitalization from the virus,” said presenting investigator Pablo Garcia, MD, Clinical and research fellow in nephrology at Stanford University School of Medicine and American Kidney Fund Clinical Scientist in Nephrology Fellow.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented multiple challenges and has disproportionately affected patients on dialysis,” he said. “At the moment we are lucky to have effective vaccination for COVID-19 — it is the best preventive strategy available in the world. We as healthcare providers should do our best to facilitate information about the vaccines.”Overall, the research showed that 80 percent of patients on dialysis were willing to get COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccine acceptability was lower among women, younger (18-44 year) age groups, and among Blacks, and Native Americans and Pacific Islanders — up to 30 percent of patients in these groups were vaccine hesitant.       

“This survey represents one step in understanding our patients’ perspective on COVID19 vaccines, and in designing targeted outreach programs.”  

The survey showed that one of the main sources of information about COVID-19 vaccines are dialysis unit staff (nurses, dieticians, social workers) and Dr. Garcia encourages patients to discuss any concerns about the vaccines with their physicians, advanced practice providers, and nursing staff. 

“Outreach efforts should be targeted to groups that have lower rates of vaccine acceptability,” Garcia said. “However, while older patients are less likely to be vaccine hesitant, they are at higher risk for serious illness and efforts to expand vaccination in older patients should also be maintained.”

More surveys of patients need to be conducted to understand the reasons why some people are vaccine hesitant and the reasons why some change their minds to inform future public health campaigns, Dr. Garcia reported.

View an NKF-produced patient video and article describing what kidney patients need to know about getting the COVID-19 vaccine.         

NKF Spring Clinical Meetings 

For the past 29 years, nephrology healthcare professionals from across the country have come to NKF’s Spring Clinical Meetings to learn about the newest developments related to all aspects of nephrology practice; network with colleagues; and present their research findings. The NKF Spring Clinical Meetings are designed for meaningful change in the multidisciplinary healthcare teams’ skills, performance, and patient health outcomes. It is the only conference of its kind that focuses on translating science into practice for the entire healthcare team.  This year’s Spring Clinical Meetings will be held virtually April 6-10.  

NKF Professional Membership 

Healthcare professionals can join NKF to receive access to tools and resources for both patients and professionals, discounts on professional education, and access to a network of thousands of individuals who treat patients with kidney disease. 

Kidney Disease Facts

In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease (CKD)—and approximately 90 percent don’t know they have it.  1 in 3 adults in the U.S. is at risk for chronic kidney disease.  Risk factors for kidney disease include: diabeteshigh blood pressureheart diseaseobesity, and family history. People who are Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian American, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander are at increased risk for developing the disease. Black or African American people are almost 4 times more likely than Whites to have kidney failure. Hispanic or Latino people are 1.3 times more likely than non-Hispanic or non-Latino people to have kidney failure.

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