“We felt it was very important to bring the COVID-19 vaccine to the dialysis units for our patients,” says WashU nephrologist Anitha Vijayan about the recent undertaking to administer the vaccine to patients on dialysis. Although patients with end-stage kidney disease are a highly vulnerable population for complications from COVID-19 infection, many have limited resources to get the vaccine. Patients face problems such as having no internet access, difficulty using online vaccination scheduling systems, and finding transportation to and from vaccination sites.
Vijayan, MD, FASN, Medical Director of Acute Dialysis Services, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and member of the ASN COVID-19 Task Force, collaborated with WashU infectious disease physician and BJC epidemiologist, Hilary Babcock, MD, MPH, who worked with BJC leadership and the BJC pharmacy team to bring the vaccines to the dialysis units. The BJC pharmacists administered the vaccine to our patients.
“The vaccination effort was a huge success!” says Vijayan. “A total of 220 patients – approximately 50% of the patients in Forest Park, North County, and Chromalloy Kidney Center (CAKC) WashU Nephrology dialysis centers – received the vaccine. Everyone who wanted the vaccine, and had not received it elsewhere, was able to get their shot.”
Members of the WashU Nephrology team also deserve a round of applause for their efforts to organize the vaccinations. Christie Smith, CAKC Nurse Administrator, Tom Gowen, North County Nurse Manager, Patty Anderson, Forest Park Nurse Administrator, and Shawna McMichael, Home Modalities Nurse Manager, were all vital in getting this done.
The event also made it convenient for several of the employees to receive the vaccine. Dialysis Technician Orin Jethroe, picture below, was one of five employees who took advantage of the opportunity to get vaccinated.
Please see the related article about how the ASN is leading efforts to advance equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to dialysis patients.