Transplant recipients were excluded from the initial clinical trials determining safety and efficacy of the landmark COVID-19 vaccines. Further, there is increasing evidence that immunosuppressed transplant recipients have a blunted antibody response to COVID-19 vaccination. In a concerning report by Sattler et al. in this issue of the JCI, kidney transplant recipients not only lacked a humoral response following two doses of Pfizer BNT162b2, but also displayed substantial impairment of the cellular response to SARS-CoV-2 antigens. This Commentary addresses potential strategies for transplant providers to evaluate and augment vaccine immunogenicity given the likelihood that COVID-19 will remain a world-wide threat to the health of transplant recipients.
Peter G. Stock, Timothy J. Henrich, Dorry L. Segev, William A. Werbel