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23rd September 2022

Household contacts key to reducing COVID-19 risk for transplant patients

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Households of kidney transplant patients should be prioritised for COVID booster vaccinations as a better way to protect their loved ones, a study supported by KTDRA has found.

Researchers have suggested this additional layer of protection, known as ‘ring vaccination’, would benefit immunocompromised individuals.
The study found the average antibody response in an immunocompromised transplant recipient is 1000-fold lower than the household control.

Lead researcher and medical scientist from SA Pathology and the Royal Adelaide Hospital Specialty Vaccination Clinic, Griffith Perkins said this study was the most comprehensive analysis of transplant recipients’ immunity from available vaccines.

“The findings show priority booster vaccination of household contacts should be the preferred vaccination strategy to protect immunocompromised transplant recipients in any future vaccine or booster rollouts,’’ he said.

“It showed the average antibody response in an immunocompromised transplant recipient is 1000-fold lower than the household control.
“The study also very clearly demonstrated the sub-optimal response transplant recipients have to vaccination; only 32.6 per cent of patients achieved a detectable antibody response, and less than 10 per cent showed evidence of protection against the virus.’’

The Adelaide trial involved 46 kidney transplant recipients receiving immunosuppression therapy and were paired with a healthy household contact of a similar age.
Trial participants received two doses of either Astra Zeneca or Pfizer vaccine and their immunity to COVID-19 was compared in a registered clinical trial.

The findings were reported in the high-ranking scientific journal, Kidney International.

The team is now looking to commence a clinical trial across sites in Adelaide and Sydney to boost vaccine responses in transplant recipients through modification of their immunosuppression.

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