ASN, AAKP, AKF, ANNA, CDC, NANT, NKF, RPA, and the Renal Healthcare Association (formerly the NRAA) are collaborating to sponsor a January 7, 2021 webinar on Safety and Efficacy of COVID-19 Vaccines in the Dialysis Population. Webinar topics will include available information about the safety and efficacy of the current COVID-19 vaccines for health care workers and patients with CKD, the risk of poor outcomes in those contracting COVID-19, the position of the sponsors on urging dialysis patients to get vaccinated, possible concerns about receiving the vaccine, approaches to discussing and defusing those concerns, and a strategy to share the provided information widely. Find more information and register at https://goto.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1416384&tp_key=2914871054.
CDC reports that the best way to protect yourself from the flu is to get vaccinated every year, and has begun a campaign to encourage everyone to get the flu vaccine, especially those with weakened immune systems like CKD patients, who have an increased risk of severe illness from the flu, even without considering COVID-19 – which you can get along with the flu. Find campaign resources like the animation below, in English and Spanish, at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/resource-center/freeresources/graphics/animated-fight-flu-punch.htm .
NKF and CDC will co-host a free September 30, 2020 webinar on Protecting Yourself and Your Patients: Preventing Influenza in the COVID-19 Era, focused on taking the steps to prevent influenza during the COVID-19 pandemic. Influenza can be associated with serious illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths, especially in people with certain chronic medical conditions, such as those with CKD at any stage, including patients on dialysis and transplant recipients. This webinar will provide an overview of the implications of influenza vaccinations among healthcare professionals caring for kidney patients. Also, strategies for encouraging influenza vaccination among patients and others will be discussed. The webinar offers 0.50 CME credit. Find full details and register at https://education.kidney.org/content/webinar-protecting-yourself-and-your-patients-preventing-influenza-covid-19-era.
CDC has published (non-COVID-19) flu vaccine recommendations for the 2020-2021 season. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the spread of respiratory illness, like flu, this fall and winter is more important than ever. Find the 2020-2021 recommendations at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/acip/summary/summary-recommendations.htm. Also available in Spanish and eight other languages.*
Medicare Part B covers one flu shot per flu season and additional flu shots if medically necessary. Flu shots are free for Medicare patients. Pneumonia and flu shots can be given during the same office visit; find recommended schedules at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/imz/adult.html.
CDC, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee recommend that all U.S. health care workers get annual flu shots.
* To find the non-English versions, go to the links above, then click on “Español” or “Other Languages” – these links are either in the upper right corner of the page, or between the title and the text of the document.
CDC has launched a new web page on Natural Disasters, Severe Weather, and COVID-19, to provide information on how people can stay safe during and after natural disasters during the COVID-19 response. The page and a few of its useful links follow:
Pack Your Go Kit: If you need to evacuate, prepare a “go kit” with personal items you cannot do without during an emergency. Include items that can help protect you and others from COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, bar or liquid soap, disinfectant wipes (if available), and two masks for each person. Masks should not be used by children under the age of 2. They also should not be used by people having trouble breathing, or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or unable to remove the mask without assistance.
Keep Your Distance: When you check on neighbors and friends, be sure to follow social distancing recommendations (staying at least 6 feet from others) and other CDC recommendations to protect yourself and others.
The time for the September 9, 2020 CMS Dialysis Facility COVID-19 Call was incorrect in our recent post on 9/8+ September CMS COVID-19 Calls. The correct time is 2:30-3:00 pm PDT. The correct September 9 entry is:
A recent CDC announcement comments on wildfire smoke:
“Wildfire smoke can irritate your lungs, cause inflammation, affect your immune system, and make you more prone to lung infections, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that cause COVID-19. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, preparing for wildfires might be a little different this year. Know how wildfire smoke can affect you and your loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic and what you can do to protect yourselves.”