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Living with Covid-19: What's next?

How well are vaccines working for vulnerable Kidney patients? What about treatments if you test positive for Covid-19? How do you continue to stay safe while 'living with Covid'?  Hear what the experts have to say.

With the publication of the Living with COVID plan, the government has ended legal restrictions in England and is instead asking the public to practice specific safe and responsible behaviours as the primary means of stopping the spread of the virus. The devolved nations will each set out how they will manage this transition in due course.

While some welcome the changes, many vulnerable kidney patients are - understandably -  concerned for their safety.

During Covid-19 Question Time (February 7th), where we joined our friends at Kidney Care UK, Kidney Research UK, National Kidney Federation, Kidney Wales, and the UK Kidney Association many of these concerns were discussed with leading kidney doctors Dr Andrew Frankel, Dr Rebecca Suckling, Professor Liz Lightstone and Professor Richard Haynes.

We thank them for their time and excellent advice, along with Kidney Care UK policy director, Fiona Loud for chairing the webinar.

If you missed the webinar or would like a reminder, you can watch it in full by clicking on the video. Alternatively, please read the Key points below. 

The key points covered in the webinar:

  • The omicron variant appears to spread more easily but leads to less severe illness than previous Covid variants. Although many people with kidney disease have tested positive for Covid recently, only a smaller number of fully vaccinated patients were unwell enough to require hospital admission.
  • Three doses of Covid vaccine are necessary for good protection for most people on dialysis and with Chronic kidney Disease (CKD).
  • For those who are immunosuppressed (such as transplant recipients) more people respond with each additional dose so it is really important to have all four doses currently offered.
  • Many people who appear to have a poor response to the vaccines - as measured by production of antibodies - have recovered well from Covid, so whilst caution is recommended there is some cause for optimism.
  • People with kidney disease who develop symptoms of Covid should do a test promptly, as treatments are available that are very effective at reducing the severity of infection, but they should be started soon after the onset of symptoms.
  • The new scheme where people at higher risk from Covid can get quick access to assessment for one of the new Covid treatments is well underway, and we recommend people familiarise themselves with the process, in case they develop symptoms.
  • There is lots of exciting research going on into treatments that can help prevent Covid, which may be particularly helpful for people who are immunosuppressed and therefore may not respond as well to the Covid vaccine.
  • People with kidney disease are at much lower risk now than earlier in the pandemic and are encouraged to return to some form of normality while continuing with good practices such as frequent handwashing, not touching the face too much and adopting the space rule when necessary.
  • Individuals who are worried about their level of risk from Covid can discuss this with their hospital team and decide which measures they are happy to continue with while slowly getting back to normal activities.

Further information on COVID-19 for people with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD).

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