Coronavirus disease is associated with increased morbidity and mortality in maintenance hemodialysis (MHD) patients. Recent breakthrough infection in vaccinated people has led some authorities to recommend a booster dose for patients fully vaccinated 5–8 months ago. We aimed to assess the humoral response of MHD patients following a booster dose with the BNT162b2 vaccine.
The study included 102 MHD patients vaccinated with 2 doses of the BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) vaccine. A third dose (booster) was recommended to all MHD patients in our center and was given to those who opted to receive it, resulting in a booster group and a control group that did not receive the booster. Previous exposure was excluded by testing for the presence of the anti-nucleocapsid antibody (SARS-CoV-2) or positive PCR. We assessed the humoral response before and after the booster dose.
Of 66 patients in the booster group, 65 patients (98.5%) developed a positive antibody response, from 472.7 ± 749.5 to 16,336.8 ± 15,397.3, as compared to a sustained decrease in the control group (695.7 ± 642.7 to 383.6 ± 298.6), p < 0.0001. No significant adverse effects were reported. Prior antibody titers were positively correlated to IgG levels following the booster dose. There was a significant association between malnutrition-inflammation markers and the humoral response.
Almost all MHD patients developed a substantial humoral response following the booster dose, which was significantly higher than levels reported for MHD patients following administration of 2 doses alone. Further studies and observations are needed to determine the exact timing and dosing schedule.