Vaccination and treatments to protect you from Covid-19
It remains vital for people with kidney disease to have all the protection they can from Covid-19. This includes vaccination and Covid-19 treatments.
We encourage you to take up all the vaccine doses you are offered, including the Spring booster if you are eligible.
Some people with suppressed immune systems may not have the same response to the Covid-19 vaccinations but research shows some people will respond after 3 or 4 doses even if they had no antibodies after initial doses so please get all your shots. This is particularly important given that infections are going back up again.
There are now established treatments for people at highest risk who do contract Covid-19 despite vaccination. People with kidney transplants, those on similar levels of immunosuppression and those with CKD 4 or 5 without immunosuppression are eligible. Unless you need to be admitted to hospital, you will be given your treatment in an outpatient appointment.
Protective approach to Covid-19: why have plans stalled?
It is disappointing that, despite the continued need for protection, preventative treatments are not yet available to people who may not respond as well to the vaccine.
There is a sense of a lack of urgency in plans for this protective approach.
Earlier in the pandemic there was a huge drive to make sure vaccinations and treatments were assessed and, if effective, authorised by the MHRA, bought by the Government and made available to those who need them in a reasonably timely fashion. We at Kidney Care UK think that people with kidney disease should be able to access all the preventative and protective treatments available – and want to see more options coming up.
At our recent Kidney Care UK Covid-19 Question Time webinar many of you had questions about protection from getting Covid-19 as well as treatment if you do test positive. Medical colleagues said that preventative treatments may be most beneficial for people who have not produced antibodies in response to vaccination, and this relatively small group could be identified through antibody testing by clinical teams.
On 17 March 2022 we welcomed the authorisation of a preventative treatment for Covid-19 called Evusheld by the MHRA. The statement explained that “there is not yet enough data to know how effective Evusheld is against Omicron or the duration of its effect against this variant, and the MHRA will work with the company to establish this.“
Since that announcement there has been no transparency about progress of testing or any timescales on when decisions will be made and no Evusheld has been made available to patients. Responses from the Government to multiple parliamentary questions simply give a set of standard answers, that it’s being ‘looked at’ to see how effective it is against new Omicron variants. For example, read one of the Government's responses about Evusheld which states, “While we expect to receive clinical advice shortly we are unable to confirm a specific timetable. “
Earlier this year we set out five tests the government’s ‘living with Covid’ plan should meet in order to support people who are immunocompromised:
- Directly address the concerns of people at highest risk and commit to improve communication with them.
- Smooth, timely access to Covid-19 treatments.
- Lateral flow tests remain free.
- Improve employment protection and support.
- Set out a plan for the use of preventative Covid-19 treatments and prioritise further research into treatments and vaccines.
There is still no plan for the use of preventative Covid-19 treatments. We are calling on the Government for more transparency in their ongoing assessment of Evusheld and we make this point at every meeting we have with officials and policymakers. This should include publishing the data from their analysis of Evusheld on outcomes for the immunosuppressed, clarity on plans and urgency in the search for effective preventative treatments.
People affected by kidney disease feel forgotten by the Government
There is a lack of confidence in people at most risk from Covid, some of whom who have spent two years shielding and need reassurance that Government is committed to support them. In the absence of information about Evusheld or other candidate drugs it is not surprising that people are frustrated and feel forgotten.
The country wants to move on and live with Covid. It is not unreasonable to ask for the tools to do that.
Thank you to everyone who has written to their MP about this – please continue to ask for their support and let us know what they say by emailing [email protected]
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