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Vaccine – Things to keep in mind for Kidney Patients

By Dr. Veerabhadra Guptha K, Senior Consultant, Nephrology, Aster RV Hospital

According to reports, there are about 1 crore people in India suffering from chronic kidney disease. Kidney patients are more likely to show severe symptoms from the Covid-19 virus due to lower immunity caused by their disease. In addition, patients with CKD have to go for dialysis sessions regularly which puts them at further risk of contracting the coronavirus; therefore it is important for these patients to take the vaccine. While there is some apprehension about taking the vaccine, patients must understand that the vaccine cannot give you Covid-19 infection and can provide some degree of protection that will help reduce the severity of the virus, if contracted. Patients who have already suffered from coronavirus illness must still go ahead and take the vaccine as we have discovered that reinfection from the virus is possible and natural immunity developed may not be sufficient to overcome the virus.

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Here are some guidelines for kidney patients to take the vaccine – 

  • The vaccination should be taken on a non-dialysis day
  • If a patient is on a blood thinner, they should consult with the concerned doctors and take a vaccine with smaller needles and after the injection, the site must be monitored for bleeding, etc.
  • Post renal transplant patients and their family members should also take the vaccine as it reduces the risk of infection. Ideally, it should be taken after one month of renal transplantation. Please follow all the guidelines and Covid-19 appropriate behaviors.
  • Post taking the vaccination; apply pressure on the site for a few minutes if you experience any bleeding.
  • If the patient has recently suffered from a bout of Covid-19, they can defer taking the vaccine by 4 weeks if the illness is still active.
  • Post taking the vaccine; please continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Many people believe they are fully immune after taking the vaccine and abandon precautionary measures.
  • Some side effects can be expected from the Covid-19 vaccine such as developing tiredness, headache, fever, etc. Do not worry. Slight swelling or redness at the site of injection may also happen.
  • In case the side effects persist or escalate, please consult your doctor.
  • Watch for allergic reactions – in case you have had an allergic reaction to a vaccine in the past, please alert your doctor so they can be prepared

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