ASN recently emphasized its support for maintaining the public health emergency (PHE) until the global pandemic has receded and the capabilities authorized by the PHE are no longer necessary. For those living with kidney diseases, “this population remains vulnerable to infection, serious illness, and death from COVID-19 due to their immunocompromised state,” ASN President Susan Quaggin, MD, FASN, pointed out in a letter to Xavier Becerra, US Secretary of Health and Human Services.
In another letter to White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH, ASN asked the administration to collaborated with stakeholders to prepare for future variants and the surges predicted for fall and winter. Urging the US Food and Drug Administration to recognize waning immunity in vaccinated people with kidney failure and provide additional guidance for prescribing treatments and vaccines that are specific for the immunocompromised, including people on dialysis and people living with a kidney transplant, would be a good start for this endeavor.
Supporting accelerated manufacturing and distribution of monoclonal antibodies for COVID-19 that provide additional prophylactic benefit to immunocompromised populations, including individuals with advanced kidney diseases and kidney failure, is also paramount for preparedness.
ASN also supports prioritizing dialysis patients, staff, and kidney transplant recipients for access to novel COVID-19 therapeutics, as well as alleviating the crises at dialysis facilities due to supply chain challenges and staff shortages and ensuring dialysis facilities continue to receive high-level, government-approved face masks and other personal protective equipment.
“Without the support and protections provided through PHE, the effects of COVID-19 on kidney health in the United States will continue to get worse,” added Dr. Quaggin. ASN commended HHS’s commitment to the health and safety of all Americans and urged that it maintain PHE and all its “flexibilities that have proven vital in safely caring for patients and critical in enabling the country’s health care system to quickly adapt and tackle COVID-19 and its variants.”