Many Vaccinated Transplant Recipients Remain at Risk for COVID

Candida Moss, in a column (RIP “op-ed”) for The New York Times:

What is receiving considerably less attention, however, is that not everyone who is vaccinated will develop antibodies, and many of those who don’t are at high risk for the most severe consequences of Covid-19. As a kidney transplant recipient, I am one of those people.

Until recently, immunocompromised people were excluded from studies of the mRNA vaccines for Covid-19, but data from clinical trials is beginning to emerge. A study of fully vaccinated kidney transplant patients published in April by researchers at New York- Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center revealed that 75 percent of kidney transplant patients studied did not develop measurable immunity after both doses of the vaccine. A second study published by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine researchers in May found that only 54 percent of fully vaccinated organ transplant recipients studied had antibodies. The numbers are different, but both studies showed that immunocompromised people had significantly reduced responses to the mRNA vaccines.

I have “world’s smallest violin, playing just for you” levels of sympathy for anyone who has chosen not to get vaccinated and then gets sick. This guy, for example — a 33-year-old Colorado sheriff who filled his Facebook page with anti-vax nonsense about the vaccines causing third arms to grow out of foreheads, and his natural immune system being all he needed to protect himself. He caught COVID and died three weeks later.

But the unvaccinated are putting others at great risk — those who can’t get vaccinated (including children), or, as in Moss’s case, those for whom the vaccines don’t produce antibodies. Our overall nationwide rates are plummeting — thanks entirely to the vaccines — but the infection, hospitalization, and death rates among the unvaccinated are, in some states, still raging. Again, I have no sympathy for those at risk by choice — but profound sympathy for those still at risk with no choice.

It is shameful to choose not to get vaccinated.

Friday, 4 June 2021