This year, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help spread the word that everyone, especially patients with kidney disease, should get a flu vaccine. CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October, however, getting vaccinated later is still beneficial. A flu vaccine protects against the flu viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season.
A flu shot is especially important for people with certain medical conditions, like heart disease, diabetes and Chronic Kidney Disease who are at high risker of developing serious flu complications. Studies show that adults with diabetes – one of the major risk factors for kidney disease – make up 30% of flu hospitalizations reported to CDC.
While influenza is already a potentially dangerous and contagious virus getting a flu shot now is even more important given the additional strain on our medical system during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For the upcoming flu season, flu vaccination will be very important to reduce flu so it can help reduce the overall impact of respiratory illnesses on the population and lessen the resulting burden on the healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NKF Chief Medical Officer Joseph Vassalotti, MD. “It is especially important that people with chronic kidney disease at any stage, and those who are treated with dialysis or kidney transplant, understand that they are at increased risk of severe illness from both COVID-19 and the flu.”
Because a person’s immune protection from vaccination declines over time, and because flu viruses are constantly changing, an annual flu vaccine is needed for optimal protection.