Outcomes in Kidney Transplant Recipients After COVID-19 Vaccine

Recipients of kidney transplantation who contract COVID-19 are at increased risk of mortality, with an incidence of death four times higher than in the general population. The availability of mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 infection have dramatically changed the impact of COVID-19, even within the vulnerable population of kidney transplant recipients; however, patients who have received a transplant have impaired immunological response to the mRNA vaccines.

Mariarosaria Campise, MD, and colleagues in Milan, Italy, initiated a vaccination campaign in March 2021. Preliminary results of the campaign indicate that the incidence of death dropped from 13% to 2.4% and the incidence of hospitalization dropped from 45% to 12.5%, compared with data prior to the vaccine campaign. Results were reported online in Vaccines [doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10070990].

Results of univariate analysis revealed two variables associated with an increased risk of hospitalization: older age (P=.023) and dyspnea (P<.0001). In multivariate analysis, dyspnea and mycophenolate therapy were independently associated with the risk of hospitalization (P<.0001 and P=.003, respectively). When the two variables were combined, the association was even stronger (P<.0001).

In summary, the authors said, “Vaccinations did not reduce the incidence of COVID-19 infections among our transplanted patients, but provided certain protection that was associated with a significantly better outcome for this infection.”