Vaccination is critical for our kidney disease and renal failure patients, who are among the most vulnerable to severe outcomes from COVID-19. Here are a few things you should know about the vaccines that are currently available.
Does the COVID-19 vaccine work?
Vaccines like those made by Pfizer and Moderna use messenger RNA (mRNA) to help the body fight the coronavirus. These vaccines use a small piece of genetic code to teach your immune system how to recognize COVID-19 and defend itself against the virus.
Just like your annual flu shot, the COVID-19 vaccine is meant to significantly reduce life-threatening medical complications from the virus. These vaccines use different technologies, but both train your immune system to activate quickly and prevent or reduce the severity of illness. By this measure, COVID-19 vaccines are effective at doing their job.
Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for people with kidney disease or renal failure?
Individuals with multiple conditions such as chronic kidney disease, hypertension, and heart disease participated in the clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine. Though the vaccine makers didn’t specifically seek out chronic kidney disease and renal failure patients in early trials, the benefits of receiving the vaccine far outweigh the potential health complications from getting coronavirus for many kidney patients.
How can I make an informed decision about getting vaccinated?
Your Nephrology Associates of Greater Cincinnati care team can talk you through the pros and cons of getting the COVID-19 vaccine. If you’ve had a reaction to a vaccine in the past, it’s important to make this choice with your doctor. They can tell you if there is anything in the COVID-19 vaccine that might pose a risk based on your overall health and sensitivities.
Will I be able to lessen COVID-19 safety practices once I’m vaccinated?
Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is an important step in reducing coronavirus transmission and the chances of the virus causing life-threatening complications. The vaccine is designed to help your body fight the virus in the event of exposure. But seeing this pandemic through to the end will require using all the safety measures available. That means continuing to wear a mask and physical distancing after receiving the vaccine. The combination of these measures gives us our best chance of combating the virus with as little loss of life as possible.
Information about the availability of COVID-19 vaccines evolves rapidly for all the communities we serve. At the time of this writing, Ohio residents aged 65 and older and Indiana residents aged 60 and older are eligible to receive the vaccine. For the latest information about availability, check with your state and county health departments.