Dialysis provider US Renal Care recently announced it has finished administering a second round of mRNA vaccines to ensure better protection against COVID-19 for thousands of vulnerable patients on dialysis.
“The administration of vaccines to our patients and their caregivers is a triumph made possible thanks to our dedicated staff, the leadership of the Biden administration and collaboration with our partners,” said Mary Dittrich, the company’s chief medical officer. “It is clear that vaccination is the way out of this global crisis, and US Renal Care is proud to have participated in this effort. Our data clearly show that patients are much more likely to accept vaccination from their dialysis centre and a familiar team of caregivers.”
A recently published article, entitled “SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Acceptability in Patients on Hemodialysis: A Nationwide Survey”, from the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN), demonstrated that patients were more likely to consent to the COVID-19 vaccine if it was provided by their dialysis centre—a press release from US Renal Care stated. The study was authored, in part, by Dittrich, and Geoff Block, who is the company’s associate chief medical officer and senior vice president of Clinical Research & Medical Affairs.
Prior to the White House announcement that it would be partnering with dialysis facilities to distribute the vaccine, US Renal Care internal data showed centres that were dispensing the vaccine had an average patient vaccination rate of 45%, while the overall population of vaccinated patients was only 16%. As a result of this recent organisation-wide vaccination effort, the percentage of vaccinated US Renal Care patients has increased from 34% to 67%, the company claims.
After receiving access to the vaccine, US Renal Care turned to its longstanding distribution partner, Cardinal Health’s Metro Medical team—which “expertly orchestrated” a distribution process that separated large shipments of vaccine into smaller parcels and shipped them to US Renal Care clinics across the country at a controlled temperature. Coordinating with Pfizer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and DaVita Kidney Care, Cardinal Health developed a cold–chain solution and shipped the first vaccines to US Renal Care clinics just 19 days after the idea was proposed.
“This has certainly proven to be a trying time for all healthcare providers, but I am deeply humbled by the work of the US Renal Care staff, our remarkable network of physicians, and our partners, who joined forces to ensure the continuity of care for our patients during one of the most challenging years in recent history,” Dittrich added. “We have hope that this next phase of vaccination represents a true turning point and indicates the beginning of the end to this pandemic.”