Dialysis patients urgently need to access vaccine


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This article was published 16/03/2021 (810 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

COVID-19 has significantly added to the challenges faced by dialysis patients. In dealing with the impact, The Kidney Foundation is calling on the provincial and federal government to consider the urgent need for dialysis patients to be immunized quickly as phases of eligibility are applied to those beyond front-line workers.

One of the principles of the government’s recently released COVID-19 vaccination plans is to protect those at greatest risk of serious illness and death from the pandemic. While the province has rightly focused its initial vaccination efforts on front-line health-care workers, residents and essential caregivers at long-term care homes, and Indigenous peoples, the urgent need for kidney dialysis patients must also be included in the plans.

Based on data collected by the Manitoba Renal Program, there are 1,829 adults in Manitoba who are dependent on dialysis treatments; 6,407 more are being treated for chronic kidney disease and there are 348,000 dialysis treatments done in one year.

Supplied photo The Kidney Foundation is urging the provincial and federal governments to prioritize dialysis patients as they roll out vaccination plans.

Although a kidney transplant is an option, not all individuals on dialysis are eligible. But while dialysis can sustain a life, it can also be extremely debilitating and comes with significant physical and emotional strain associated with living with a chronic and potentially fatal disease.

Outbreaks of the virus have occurred in multiple dialysis facilities and spread to patients and health-care providers. This places a tremendous strain on the delivery of care to people with kidney disease.

Despite all the strategies to mitigate COVID-19 transmission by the health-care system, individuals requiring hemodialysis in-centre are at high risk due to immunosuppression, travelling together to dialysis, sitting in waiting rooms, and being in close proximity at hemodialysis stations and with long-term care residences. In fact, most dialysis patients are treated in hospitals several times per week, increasing their vulnerability and risk of exposure.    

Manitoba has the highest rate of kidney disease throughout the country and there is no cure.

Furthermore, the Canadian dialysis population is amongst the highest risk of mortality from COVID-19 infections, with a case fatality rate upwards of 25 per cent in the first wave and an overall mortality of 20 per cent to date. This demonstrates why dialysis patients need to be vaccinated so quickly.  

Kidney Foundation Play the Kidney Foundation's one-day only 50/50 draw on Weds., March 17, at

In partnership with the Canadian Society of Nephrology, a webinar entitled COVID-19 Vaccine Information for Dialysis Patient, that will focus on the situation for those undergoing dialysis, is now available on demand.  

To watch this webinar and for more information, please visit:

Kidney Foundation

Kidney Foundation

The Kidney Foundation develops programs, services, research opportunities and awareness campaigns that have had a positive impact on the millions of Canadians living with, or at risk of developing kidney disease. Its national research program is one of the most important sources of funding for scientists conducting kidney-related research. We are also committed to providing education, information and support about kidneys and kidney disease.

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