Transplants and Vaccines

April 5, 2021

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Anchor lead: Why do people who’ve had organ transplants not respond well to Covid vaccines? Elizabeth Tracey reports

When someone has an organ transplant, they take lots of medicines to keep their body from attacking the new organ. Dorry Segev, a transplant surgeon at Johns Hopkins, and one author of a study looking at Covid vaccine response in these organ recipients, says that’s the key to their dampened antibody production after vaccination.

Segev: To prevent rejection in transplant patients we have to block the immune system. And it turns out one of the drugs that we use to block the immune system also happens to block the ability of the immune system to respond to the vaccine very well.  :12

Segev notes that this study was confined to the first vaccine dose.

Segev: If the response to dose two is as blunted as the response to dose one, maybe fifty percent of transplant patients will have protection but it’s quite certain that the majority will still not have protection.  :14

Segev says those who’ve received organ transplants should still get vaccinated and cautions that they must be extra vigilant in avoiding potential infection. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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