medRxiv. 2021 May 12:2021.05.06.21256768. doi: 10.1101/2021.05.06.21256768. Preprint.
BACKGROUND: Patients receiving dialysis may mount impaired responses to COVID19 vaccination.
METHODS: We report antibody response to vaccination from 1140 patients without, and 493 patients with pre-vaccination SARS-CoV-2 RBD antibody. We used commercially available assays (Siemens) to test remainder plasma monthly in association with vaccination date and type, and assess prevalence of absent total receptor binding antibody, and absent or attenuated (index value < 10) semiquantitative receptor binding domain IgG index values. We used Poisson regression to evaluate risk factors for absent or attenuated response to vaccination.
RESULTS: Among patients who were seronegative versus seropositive before vaccination, 62% and 56% were ≥65 years old, 20% and 24% were Hispanic, and 22% and 23% were Black. Median IgG index values rose steadily over time, and were higher among the seropositive than in the seronegative patients after completing vaccination (150 [25 th , 75 th percentile 23.2, 150.0] versus 41.6 [11.3, 150.0]). Among 610 patients who completed vaccination (assessed ≥14 days later, median 29 days later), the prevalence of absent total RBD response, and absent and attenuated semiquantitative IgG response was 4.4% (95% CI 3.1, 6.4%), 3.4% (2.4, 5.2%), and 14.3% (11.7, 17.3%) respectively. Risk factors for absent or attenuated response included longer vintage of end-stage kidney disease, and lower pre-vaccination serum albumin.
CONCLUSIONS: More than one in five patients receiving dialysis had evidence of an attenuated immune response to COVID19 vaccination.
SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Patients receiving dialysis face high likelihood of severe COVID19; at the same time, vaccination may be less efficacious, as prior data indicate impaired immune responses to influenza and Hepatitis B vaccination. We found that 22% of patients receiving dialysis had suboptimal responses to vaccination, irrespective of whether or not they had evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection. Poorer health status and longer duration of end-stage kidney disease increased likelihood of suboptimal response. Ongoing vigilance for COVID19 in dialysis facilities and studies of modified vaccination dosing schedules will be critical to protecting patients receiving dialysis.