Fresenius Medical Care, the world’s leading provider of products and services for people with chronic kidney failure, is making its own dialysis clinics available for the vaccination of its patients against COVID-19. Dialysis patients are an especially high-risk group: They are on average over 65, and often have other diseases and a weakened immune system. Dialysis patients suffering from COVID-19 therefore have a significantly higher mortality risk.
Medical personnel in Fresenius Medical Care dialysis clinics regularly vaccinate patients against influenza, hepatitis B and pneumococci, and the company is already vaccinating against COVID-19 in several countries including Portugal and the United States. About 90 percent of all patients needing dialysis visit a dialysis clinic several times weekly for treatment.
In Europe specifically, Fresenius Medical Care and other dialysis providers have been vaccinating patients in Portugal under a plan, authorized by the country’s government, that ensures the proper storage and safe administration of the vaccines. The first patients were vaccinated in late January, and almost all Fresenius Medical Care patients in Portugal have since received their second and final dose of the vaccine.
“Social distancing and self-isolation are practically impossible for dialysis patients. In our dialysis clinics we can quickly and professionally vaccinate them against COVID-19 and effectively protect them,” said Dr. Katarzyna Mazur-Hofsäß, Fresenius Medical Care’s Chief Executive Officer for Europe, Middle East and Africa region. “This can save many lives. We have the infrastructure and the medical expertise and are happy to make both available to speed vaccination campaigns. We would gladly expand this successful model, in close cooperation with the health authorities, to other countries where we treat dialysis patients.”
The European Kidney Patients’ Federation, the umbrella organization for 23 national associations representing people receiving dialysis, supports Fresenius Medical Care’s offer to make its existing infrastructure available to accelerate the vaccination of dialysis patients across Europe.
Fresenius Medical Care treats more than 66,000 patients in its Europe, Middle East and Africa region, in over 800 dialysis clinics some 30 countries. The company has taken extensive measures to prevent the infection of patients within its more than 4,000 dialysis clinics worldwide since the beginning of the pandemic. These include the provision of personal protective equipment and setting up isolation units. The company is also expanding home dialysis.