One aspect of the current COVID-19 reality not on most people’s radar is the immunosuppressed people in our communities.

One of my family members (not a candidate for dialysis) is living with her second kidney transplant. Despite being fully vaccinated, she can’t enjoy the same freedoms we do. To prevent the body from rejecting a foreign organ, transplant patients take drugs designed to suppress the immune system. After decades of this, she is severely immunocompromised.

Recent Johns Hopkins research showed that “fewer than 20 percent of solid organ transplant patients mounted detectable antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 following a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.” After the second dose, the antibody response increases, but to levels that are still significantly lower than for “immuno-competent” people.

My family member has been advised not to change her behavior at all: She must continue wearing masks, practice social distancing, etc. But the world is changing. Her grocery store has done away with “senior hours.” For any errands, if she finds the parking lot especially busy, she must leave and try again later. Although she tries to maintain a safe physical distance in public, she can’t control the behavior of others.

Please remember our immunosuppressed loved ones and neighbors. If you are not fully vaccinated, please wear a mask and keep your distance in public. Thanks.

Medea Steinman

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