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Immunocompromised Need to be Vaccinated

By Jacqueline Burgess-Bishop, FACHE

We can never know who among us is not vaccinated or high-risk or both just by looking at them. People with pre-existing conditions and compromised immune systems do not carry signs announcing their medical condition. They look and act like anyone else. Nevertheless, day after day throughout this pandemic, our neighbors with these vulnerabilities have had to go about their lives in many of the same places as those who do not wear masks properly or still have not received the vaccine. Everyone is vulnerable to the damaging effects of COVID-19. Our neighbors with compromised immune systems recognize these risks because their lives depend on mitigating them. At the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois, we work with kidney disease patients and transplant recipients who are at a higher risk for developing serious complications from COVID-19. Many patients with severe COVID-19 are those with co-existing, chronic conditions, including high blood pressure and diabetes. Both increase the risk of kidney disease. Kidney disease disproportionately impacts communities of color due to health disparities and inequalities. COVID-19 exacerbates this reality. Through initiatives like the Pandemic Health Navigator program administered by the Illinois Public Health Association, Community Health Workers setup mobile testing and vaccine clinics. Community Health Workers also transport immunocompromised patients to vaccine appointments. All of these efforts get us closer to herd immunity. But with 70 percent fully vaccinated, we cannot let up on outreach, education, testing, and vaccination drives. That makes our work with P.H.N. even more important. Let’s make sure we get vaccinated, stay vigilant, and work together to ensure all of us, immunocompromised included, are safer and more optimistic about our post-pandemic future. Jacqueline Burgess-Bishop, FACHE is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois.

Morreale Communications


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