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Vaccination is recommended from 3 months after the transplant, so that the immune system has recovered enough to generate a response to the vaccine. If a living donor kidney transplant is scheduled, the recommendation is to receive both doses of the vaccine before the transplant date.
The COVID-19 vaccine is safe for those who have received a kidney transplant. All side effects that have been reported are comparable to those observed in the general population, and are mild in most cases. The most common side effect is pain at the vaccine administration site, followed by tiredness and fever. Approximately 25% of transplant recipients who have received the vaccine needed to take pain medication (paracetamol) to control the side effects.
The data published so far indicates that mRNA vaccines generate an immune response (antibodies or lymphocytes) that can be detected in almost half of all kidney transplant patients.
There is little information on the efficacy of other types of vaccines, although the data indicates that the response is less effective compared to mRNA vaccines. Nevertheless, given how safe all types of vaccine are, you are advised to get whichever vaccine is available to you, always taking the recommendations of the health authorities into account.
It is currently not known how long the protective effect of vaccination will last in kidney transplant patients. The available data was recorded shortly after the second dose, and there are currently no studies with medium- to long-term follow-up (6-12 months).
For this reason, and because in some cases it is not possible to measure the immune response to the vaccine in transplant patients, it is recommended that precautionary measures continue to be taken in accordance with the current epidemiological situation and the indications of health professionals.
Cases of COVID after vaccination have been reported in the general population and also in the transplant patient population. Infection following vaccination is very rare in the general population, and the vast majority of these cases are asymptomatic. In kidney transplant patients, the incidence of infection after vaccination is still unknown and the possibility that the disease may manifest with more severe symptoms than in the general population has not been excluded.