March 27, 2024

Vaccination is important for people with kidney disease

March is National Kidney Month, and the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) is raising awareness about the importance of vaccines for those with kidney disease and other chronic health conditions. 

Kidney disease affects millions of people worldwide, and it is important for those with kidney disease to understand how important vaccines are to their overall health. Vaccines play a crucial role in preventing infectious diseases and there are specific considerations for people with kidney disease. Here are 3 key things you need to know about vaccines and kidney disease:

  1. Vaccine Effectiveness: People with kidney disease are at a higher risk of developing serious complications from infections, making vaccination particularly important. However, their immune response to vaccines may be weaker compared to those with healthy kidneys. This means that vaccines may be less effective in people with kidney disease, especially those undergoing dialysis or with advanced kidney failure. Despite this, getting vaccinated is still recommended because even partial protection can reduce the severity of disease.
  2. Vaccine Safety: Many vaccines are safe for those with kidney disease, but there are some exceptions. Live vaccines, such as measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, and nasal spray flu vaccine, are generally not recommended for people with weakened immune systems, including those with kidney disease. Instead, they should opt for inactivated vaccines, which are made from killed viruses or bacteria and are considered safe for people with kidney disease.
  3. Timing and Frequency: The timing and frequency of vaccinations for people with kidney disease may differ from those without kidney disease. Some vaccines, such as hepatitis B vaccines, may need to be given in higher doses or more frequently to ensure adequate protection. It is important for people with kidney disease to discuss vaccination with a trusted healthcare professional, who can make recommendations specific to individual circumstances.

Did You Know? Chronic kidney disease can make it difficult for your immune system to fight infection?

Vaccines are an essential part of protecting the health of those with kidney disease—while their immune response to vaccines may be weaker, getting vaccinated still provides valuable protection against serious infections. It is important for people with kidney disease to work closely with a trusted healthcare professional to ensure they receive the right vaccines at the right time and in the right dosage. Doing so can help protect their health and well-being.

Read more about Vaccines Recommended for People with Kidney Disease

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