CKD patients to gain access to COVID-19 vaccination at dialysis centers

March 26, 2021

A new federal effort announced will help people with chronic kidney disease who require dialysis access COVID-19 vaccinations through dialysis clinics, as well as provide vaccines for healthcare workers at dialysis centers, according to a statement by CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH. This effort is another important step in making sure that vaccines reach the most medically vulnerable communities.

People on dialysis who contract COVID-19 often have severe adverse health outcomes — half require hospitalization and 20% to 30% die from COVID-19. Furthermore, advanced stage chronic kidney disease disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minorities, including African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians/Alaska Natives. These same groups are less likely to receive a kidney transplant — and more likely to rely on long-term dialysis treatments — than non-Hispanic Whites. It is estimated that 34% of people receiving dialysis are Black and 19% are Hispanic; and that 22% of staff in dialysis clinics are Black.

Dialysis clinics provide a trusted innovative pathway to help COVID-19 vaccines reach populations that have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Each year, more than 550,000 people receive regular dialysis treatments through the Medicare End-Stage Renal Disease Program. The dialysis partners effort will onboard clinics that participate in the Medicare program to administer COVID-19 vaccines to their patients and workers.

Dialysis care providers have longstanding experience administering flu and hepatitis B vaccinations to people who receive dialysis treatment. They also have extensive operational, logistical, and information-technology infrastructure to support COVID-19 vaccinations. Importantly, this effort will allow people who receive dialysis treatments to receive a COVID-19 vaccine from a trusted, trained, and familiar source at a location they already visit several times each week. It will also protect the healthcare personnel who care for this population. To date, only 35% of healthcare workers in dialysis centers have been vaccinated.

CDC has the media statement.

More COVID-19 coverage HERE.