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We remain concerned about ‘easing lockdown’ for kidney patients

14 July 2021

Following the announcements confirming most lockdown restrictions will be eased in England and Scotland on Monday 19 July, we realise that many kidney patients will be feeling even more anxious. Although hospital numbers are low at the moment, the number of cases in the community is rising rapidly and this is concerning for everyone.

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We already know that kidney patients are at increased risk of serious illness if they are infected with Covid-19. Over the weekend, Public Health England acknowledged that some highly clinically vulnerable patients – including some kidney patients and those who are immunosuppressed – could still be at risk despite being fully vaccinated, and should seek advice from their specialists.

Funding research to understand the virus

Understanding the virus and the best way to protect vulnerable kidney patients is a priority for us:

  • We are funding urgent research to investigate how kidney patients respond to the different types of vaccine, and to determine which patients are at greatest risk. This will help to refine and improve the current treatment strategy.
  • In parallel, we are also funding a clinical trial called PROTECT-V, testing a potential treatment to prevent Covid-19 infection which, if successful, could provide an additional layer of protection to that offered by the vaccines.

Both studies rely on patient volunteers, and we are incredibly grateful to everyone who is participating.

New guidance issued

The Government has issued new guidance for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable, but we remain concerned about the lack of legal protection for kidney patients once safety measures become voluntary. For this reason, we have joined the coalition of charities calling for the Government to do more to protect those who aren’t as well protected by the vaccine.

If you are unsure how best to protect yourself, our advice remains the same:

  • Get fully vaccinated – two doses are better than one
  • Have a booster dose if it is offered – three doses should be better still
  • Ensure everyone in your household is vaccinated
  • Keep up with social distancing – it is effective
  • Meet outside or in well-ventilated areas
  • Continue to wear a mask – this works too
  • Encourage those around you to wear masks and respect your personal space.

“We know that the key to ending the pandemic is research,” said Dr Aisling McMahon, executive director of research at Kidney Research UK. “We are working as fast as we can to gather the evidence needed to help protect vulnerable kidney patients.

“In the meantime, we are concerned that the easing of lockdown will create a two-tier system – those who are safe and those who aren’t. There will be people whose employers won’t take their vulnerabilities into account because they mistakenly believe the law no longer requires them to, and people who want their children to enjoy equal access to education, but are fearful of what they may bring home at the end of the school day. The Government must do better.”

Find out more

Visit our information page for more detail about Covid-19 vaccination for kidney patients.

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