“Some of our patients form either no vaccine-specific antibodies at all or very few following Sars-Cov-2 immunization,” says Dr. Okan Cinkilic, nephrologist and head of the dialysis center in Schwerte.
Dialysis patients can easily contract COVID. It is not known how the immune system of dialysis patients reacts to virus variants such as the Delta variant. The team set out to determine whether patients could benefit from a third vaccination against the coronavirus.
“The fact that renal patients need a stronger vaccination stimulus in order to develop a sufficient vaccination response is nothing new,” says Professor Timm Westhoff, Director of Medical Department I at Marien Hospital Herne.
The research team examined 23 dialysis patients who had presented a reduced vaccination response after a second inoculation with an mRNA vaccine against COVID-19. All of them received a third dose. Twenty of them developed a high antibody titre.
The research team also studied 25 patients whose immune systems had already produced high titers of antibodies and killer cells after a second shot.
“Interestingly, despite being high-responder after the second dose, their immune response was lower than the vaccination response of patients who did not respond to two doses and required the third one – even against the Delta variant,” says Timm Westhoff.
“These results are clinically relevant,” as Okan Cinkilic sums up the findings. The third vaccination round could bring benefit not only for patients who presented a reduced vaccination response or no response at all after two doses, but also for patients with a good antibody response after two shots.
“Consequently, our data support the recently published recommendation of the Standing Committee on Vaccination, which recommends a third vaccination dose for people with reduced immunity, including dialysis patients,” says Okan Cinkilic.