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General medicine
Getting the COVID-19 vaccine as a transplant patient
  1. Michael Mittelman
  1. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  1. Correspondence to Michael Mittelman, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; mikemitt{at}

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Getting the vaccine appointment

‘Yes! I am fully vaccinated’, I said to myself. The thrill, the excitement, coupled with too many other emotions to describe came swelling over me. I was also all alone, waiting in a room with others who had recently received their first or second dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine. I could sense a feeling of cautious joy in the room as I looked around at others also sitting with their masks on. At 39 years of age, I guessed that I was the youngest person in the room.

I felt ‘chosen’ and privileged to be among the first to be vaccinated. Several weeks before, when my doctor’s office called me on a Saturday, I worried something was wrong. ‘Your doctor has referred you for the vaccine’, they said. ‘We are beginning to offer them to our transplant patients. Would you like the vaccine?’ Silence. Would I? Heck yes! My family and friends had been wondering when it might be my turn, when the city would begin to allow transplant recipients to have the vaccine. I responded, ‘Yes! Tell me where and when, and I will be there!’

I have an underlying rare kidney disease, have had three kidney transplants (the current one from a living donor) and have a number of other chronic health conditions. The pandemic has been a challenge for everyone, but it has been particularly challenging for those living with underlying conditions and people with compromised immune systems like me.

COVID-19 vaccines in people with transplants

When it was announced that vaccines were going to be approved, the transplant community began talking about who should get the vaccine and when. As early as late December, with the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorisations for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, professional medical organisations, including the American Society of Transplantation (AST), recommended that …

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  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it appeared Online First. Minor text change, repitition of sentence.

  • Contributors MM devised and wrote the article.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests MM is a transplant recipient and rare disease patient advocate. He works in cybersecurity, is a former Patient Editor at the BMJ, a global PCORI ambassador and is the Chairman of the American Living Organ Donor Fund.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.