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COVID-19 and your kidneys

The latest advice from the Australian Government for people living with CKD and/or immunosuppressed (including transplants) and/or on dialysis

Hands washing underneath a tap

Updated 14 Feb 2022

Omicron:

The current wave of infection in Australia and across the world is driven by the Omicron variant. An Omicron sub – variant BA.2 (‘Son of Omicron’) has been detected in small numbers in Australia. It is being watched closely and may be more contagious.


Vaccination:

The data is becoming clear that the primary plan for COVID – 19 vaccination is 3 doses. For individuals who are immunosuppressed it is 4 doses.

Consider getting the Flu vaccination when it is available.


Testing:

Rapid antigen tests (RATS) are convenient tools to detect the COVID - 19 virus in nasal secretions or saliva.

There are three key concepts to understanding how accurate RATs are: Sensitivity (true positive result), specificity (true negative) and pre - test probability (the likelihood a person has COVID – 19 based on their clinical symptoms, exposure history and/or the background community rate of infection).

  • If you have symptoms and RAT positive, you have COVID - 19
  • If you have no symptoms and RAT positive, you need a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to confirm
  • If you were in close contact of positive case and RAT negative, the course of action depends on pre - test probability which includes vaccination status; presence of other conditions; medications. Be careful and take a PCR test to confirm.

What to do if get COVID – 19:

If you get a positive test result, you must isolate straight away. We advise you prepare and put together a 'COVID' plan - what to do if in isolation.

If you test positive on RAT then notify your state or territory health department (What to do if you get COVID-19 | Australian Government Department of Health).

Notify people you were associating with in the days leading up to the positive test.

If you are concerned, call the National Coronavirus Helpline: 1800 020 080 National Coronavirus Helpline | Australian Government Department of Health


Treatments:

Treatments are emerging that, if administered early, can change the course of the disease. The following are considered for non – hospitalised people with mild to moderate COVID – 19 who are at risk of progressing to severe disease.

Speak to your GP, nephrologist or kidney unit as soon as possible.

  • Sotrovimab: IV (single dose) < 7 days of symptoms
  • Remdesivir: IV (3 doses) < 7 days of symptoms
  • Paxlovid: Caution if on immunosuppressive medication. Oral (twice daily for 5 days) < 5 days of symptoms.
  • Molnupiravir: Oral (twice daily for 5 days) < 5 days ONLY when none of the above options can be used.

We’re here to help you during these difficult times. Our Kidney Helpline can answer your kidney health queries, COVID - 19 questions and help connect you to services. Call today on 1800 454 363 or email Kidney.Helpline@kidney.org.au

Webinar - COVID-19 vaccines for people living with kidney disease

Kidney Health Australia is part of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Nephrology COVID-19 National Working Group which continues to respond to the COVID - 19 Crisis to ensure the needs and concerns of patients are being heard, and that the information as it relates to people with kidney disease is up to date and backed by the clinical community.

COVID -19 Vaccine

It is best advised that you speak with your treating doctor about the COVID-19 vaccine and what will be best for your health.

With information changing rapidly in regards to vaccine availaibility and eligibility, we recommend you regularly check the Australian Government website for up-to-date information about the rollout, including timelines.

To read more about the need for vaccination for people with kidney disease, read the joint statement from the ANZSN COVID-19 Working Group here.

Even with vaccination, physical distancing, mask wearing masks and safe hand hygiene continue to be very important measures to protect from COVID - 19.

Download the media release: People with kidney disease and kidney transplants urged to get the COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 and your kidney health

Your COVID-19 questions answered

Watch Dr Shilpa Jesudason discuss COVID-19 and kidney disease, answering the kidney communities most asked questions, watch here, March 2020

How to stay safe during COVID-19

 We went live on Facebook with Dr Shilpa Jesudason to talk about how you can stay safe during COVID-19, watch here, April 2020.

Other useful links

Health Professional Webinars

We're hosting regular webinars for health professionals to help inform them on how to care for kidney patients during the COVID-19 crisis. Learn more.

Want more information?

There is a large amount of unverified information circulating on social media. It is important that you seek information on coronavirus from trusted sources.

Australian Government

Visit the Australian Government’s Coronavirus Information Page. This page is regularly updated with the latest information.

If you have questions about coronavirus please call the Australian Government’s Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. The helpline operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

World Health Organisation

The WHO has a large range of global resources and information visit the World Health Organisation Advice for the Public Page.

National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce

Health professionals can get up-to-date information and best practice care advice on the COVID-19 Evidence website.

Transplant Australia

Transplant Australia have resources, videos and updates on staying safe with your transplant visit their website.

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