The onset of COVID-19 has caused various medical facilities to adapt different protocols all over the United States. This is no different for dialysis research centers, who have been making generous strides in effort to be able to vaccinate their current patients across the country.
Dialysis providers are urging the governments to allow them to make direct allocation of the vaccines to dialysis centers. Having on sight vaccinations will help patients receive the vaccine more efficiently, while in a familiar environment.
Since the availability of vaccines are varied according to city, state, and region, many dialysis providers are working directly with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to get direct allocation of vaccines to dialysis facilities across the U.S.
Role of dialysis centers
There is a crucial role that dialysis centers play in helping some of the most at risk populations to receive the coronavirus vaccine.
This will help patients to avoid navigation of complicated scheduling systems or travel to mass vaccination sites. This will also aid in verifying the percentage of patients getting vaccinated.
Patients need not go to a third-party site for the vaccination. Many vaccination sites are seeing a huge influx of people attempting to make appointments, causing wait lists to lengthen. For dialysis patients, being able to receive the vaccine quicker will help prevent them from contracting the disease while in waiting.
This makes dialysis research clinics the distribution points as an effective way to vaccinate high-risk and hard-to-reach populations. Moreover, dialysis centers are well-equipped to administer COVID-19 vaccines because of their capacity to provide regular delivery of hepatitis B, influenza, and pneumococcal vaccines.
Importance of vaccine distribution
The efforts being made by dialysis research centers are to ensure patients are able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine quickly. Such patients undergoing long-term dialysis are more likely to become infected with the disease and have a lower chance of beating the virus.
This only means that dialysis patients must be a priority for vaccination. Additionally, dialysis patients are likely to be older, live in long-term care facilities, and have underlying conditions. All these can dramatically increase their risk of infection of COVID-19 and other related complications.
More likely to be at risk
Among the most vulnerable for COVID-19 infection are end-stage renal disease patients. In fact, among all Medicare beneficiaries, they had the highest rate of COVID-19 hospitalization. Moreover, they have a mortality rate 25 times of other beneficiaries of the same age.
States like Pennsylvania and Texas have already opened vaccination to people with underlying medical conditions. Others provided thousands of doses in Louisiana and large allocations in Minnesota to dialysis research facilities. However, the efforts employed were state-by-state, while some are county-by-county.
Varied vaccine distribution protocols
Each state has a different approach in managing the vaccine. That said, not all states are showing interest in the direct distribution models for dialysis centers.
The limited supply of vaccines is also making these efforts more challenging. Only few states are spreading their limited supply across tens of thousands of providers, starting with larger scale distribution centers.
Only end-stage renal disease patients have the advantage because they are united around the dialysis center. Since dialysis centers are more accustomed for vaccine distribution and administration, they are much capable of providing COVID-19 vaccines for patients.
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