Last updated 25/01/2022

Please see below generalised Covid-19 Government guidance. We regularly update the page in response to any further announcements or developments.

Contents:


Latest information for patients

Kidney Charities Together Create Document: What You Need to Know About Coronavirus Testing 19/01/2021 - View here 

Self isolation for those with COVID-19 can end after 5 full days following 2 negative Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests – 13/012021
From Monday 17th January 2021, people with COVID-19 in England can end their self isolation after 5 full days, as long as they test negative on day 5 and day 6. It remains 7 days in other UK countries, for people with a negative LFD and an absence of fever on day 6 and 7. GOV.UK website provides further detail here.

Confirmatory PCR tests to be temporarily suspended for positive lateral flow test results 05/01/2022
From 11th January 2022 in England, people who receive positive lateral flow test results for COVID-19 will be required to self-isolate immediately and won’t be required to take a confirmatory PCR test.

This is a temporary measure while COVID-19 rates remain high across the UK. Whilst levels of COVID-19 are high, the vast majority of people with lateral flow tests can be confident that they have COVID-19.

Lateral flow tests are taken by people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms.

Anyone who develops 1 of the 3 main COVID-19 symptoms should stay at home and self-isolate and take a PCR test. They must self-isolate if they get a positive test result, even if they have had a recent negative lateral flow test – these rules have not changed.

For more information on this update please visit the GOV.UK web link here.

New antibody and antiviral treatments to people with Coronavirus (COVID-19) 20/12/2021

The NHS is offering new antibody and antiviral treatments to people with Coronavirus (COVID-19) who are at highest risk of becoming seriously ill, this includes Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) stage 4 or 5 or had an organ transplant.

2 types of COVID-19 treatment are available:

Sotrovimab (Xevudy)  - Sotrovimab is a biological medicine. It is also known as a neutralising monoclonal antibody (nMAb).

Molnupiravir (Lagevrio)  - Molnupiravir is an antiviral medicine.

These treatments can help some people manage their COVID-19 symptoms and reduce the risk of becoming seriously ill.  For more details please visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/treatments-for-coronavirus/

Kidney Charities Together Covid-19 Treatment Options Update 20/12/21
The kidney Charities Together Group have provided an update on treatment options for kidney patients with Covid19.

Please click HERE to read the document   

This letter from Professor Stephen Powis, National Medical Director for NHS England and NHS Improvement, outlines the new COVID-19 treatments for patients who are at highest risk of becoming seriously ill.

For a simple summary of the current advice to kidney patients visit here.

Kidney Charities Together COVID-19 Update and Advice Document 15/12/2021
The Kidney Charities Together Group have provided an update for kidney patients which details the latest information on COVID-19, ways to stay safe, treatment options available for kidney patients with COVID-19 and research studies you can get involved in. A brand new PDF has also been created by the KCT titled 'COVID Vaccines Explained for Kidney Patients' to view click here.

Describing the population experiencing COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough following second vaccination in England: A cohort study from OpenSAFELY was published on 16/12/2021 to view click here.

URGENT NATIONAL APPEAL TO GET A BOOSTER JAB 12/12/2021
The booster programme will be significantly accelerated so that all eligible adults will be offered a booster jab by the new year. Everyone eligible aged 18 and over in England will have the chance to get their booster before the new year. The UK Government will provide additional support to accelerate vaccinations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

From 13/12/2021 in England boosters will be available to adults over 18 who has had a second dose of the vaccine at least three months ago. The NHS booking system will be open for these younger age groups from 15/12/2021.

ENGLAND TO MOVE TO PLAN B OF THE ROADMAP – 08/12/2021
The Government has announced that England will move to Plan B in response to the risks of the Omicron variant. Find out more here.

UK’s MOST VULNERABLE PEOPLE TO RECIEVE LIFE SAVING COVID-19 TREATMENTS IN THE COMMUNITY - 08/12/2021

Those at highest risk of COVID-19 will be among the first in the world to access life-saving, cutting edge antiviral and antibody treatments from today, the Government has announced.

A national study called PANORAMIC, run by the University of Oxford in close collaboration with GP hubs, has now launched and is recruiting around 10,000 UK patients at risk of serious illness from COVID-19 to have the opportunity to take the treatment molnupiravir at home after receiving a positive PCR test.

Those at highest risk who test positive for the virus – for example, people who are immunocompromised, cancer patients or those with Down’s syndrome – will also be able to access either molnupiravir or the novel monoclonal antibody Ronapreve outside of the study from 16 December 2021.

This will ensure the treatments can help protect those most at risk from the virus over the winter months, reducing the number of hospitalisations and therefore pressures on the NHS. This will be significant for those who have compromised immune systems and for whom the vaccines can therefore be less effective.

Molnupiravir has shown in clinical trials to reduce the risk of hospitalisation or death for at-risk, non-hospitalised adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 by 30% and Ronapreve reduced the risk by 70%.

MELODY RESEARCH STUDY FOR TRANSPLANT RECIPIENTS 07/12/2021
NHS Blood and Transplant are currently looking for organ transplant recipients to take part in a new research study, assessing the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines.

The study aims to estimate how many immunosuppressed people in the UK have antibodies that may provide protection against COVID-19 after three vaccines and then assess whether people with antibodies have lower rates of infection and severe outcomes of infection than people without antibodies. The results of this study may help assess the impact of the vaccines on the level of antibody response to COVID-19 across the UK and help guide public health policy towards vulnerable groups. If you would like to participate please visit here.

PRIME MINISTER SETS OUT NEW MEASURES AS OMICRON VARIANT IS IDENTIFIED IN THE UK – 27/11/2021
The Prime Minister has confirmed new temporary and precautionary measures following the emergence of the Omicron variant in the UK. This includes compulsory face masks in shops and public transport in England from Tuesday 30th November 2021, new international travel rules and compulsory self-isolation rules have also been confirmed for close contacts of people confirmed to have the Omicron variant.

For more information regarding vaccinations please visit our Vaccination information section.

NEW PATIENT INFORMATION A COVID-19 PERSPECTIVE ON HOME DIALYSIS READ HERE - 28/10/2021
NHS Blood and Transplant have recently had some queries about whether having – or not having – the Covid vaccination affects a person’s ability to donate or receive a transplant. You can donate or receive a transplant whether you’ve had the Covid-19 vaccination or not, as long as you’re eligible. – 14/10/2021

KQuIP COVID HD Ensuring Patient Safety - Coronavirus test information for kidney patients can be found here

Read information about how you can reduce your risk of contracting Covid-19. This information is also available in Plain English.

The Kidney Quality Improvement Partnership (KQuIP) has produced an animated video about receiving haemodialysis during the pandemic.


National restrictions throughout the UK

COVID-19 Response: The government has announced that the measures put in place under Plan B in England will be lifted and will return to Plan A.

This means:

  • From 19 January: The government announced an easing of restrictions for the general public. Most people are no longer advised to work from home. People who are immunosuppressed are still advised to work from home if they can or speak to their employer about temporary measures to reduce your risk. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have updated their guidance.
  • From 20 January: Face coverings will no longer be advised for staff and pupils in secondary school and college classrooms
  • From 27 January: Face coverings will no longer be advised for staff and pupils in communal areas of secondary schools, nor for staff in communal areas of primaries. Directors of Public Health will only be able to recommend pupils and staff wear masks in communal areas in places where there are outbreaks or where the local public health situation justifies it, and with sign-off from the Education Secretary
  • From 27 January: There is no longer a legal requirement to wear a face covering. The government suggests that you continue to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not normally meet
  • From 27 January: Venues and events will no longer be required by law to check visitors’ NHS COVID Pass. The NHS COVID Pass can still be used on a voluntary basis
  • From 11 February the UK will be open for travel with all restrictions removed for eligible vaccinated arrivals 

This guidance will be updated shortly to include more information on these changes. You should continue to follow all of the guidance on this page to keep yourself and others safe. Find out more here.

Wales - Wales has moved to alert level 2. Find a summary of what you must do and what is open at medium risk alert level 2 here.

Scotland - Scotland's legal restrictions and guidance can be found here 

Northern Ireland - Northern Ireland's additional legal restrictions and guidance can be found here



CORONAVIRUS - SHIELDING/UNSHIELDING -  INFORMATION AND ADVICE FOR PATIENTS

Shielding programme ends for the most vulnerable – 15/09/2021

Guidance for people previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 - 24/12/2021
The shielding programme ended in England on 15 September 2021. This means that people who were previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) will not be advised to shield in the future or follow specific guidance.

This is because we know a lot more about the virus and what makes someone more or less vulnerable to COVID-19, the vaccine continues to be successfully rolled out, and treatments are becoming available. If your immune system means you are at higher risk from COVID-19, there is specific guidance for you (including a definition of what this means).

If you have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine, you should get vaccinated. Evidence indicates that 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine provide very effective protection against hospitalisation. It usually takes around 2 to 3 weeks for your body to develop its protective response.

To maintain this high level of protection through the coming winter, you should also get a booster vaccine for COVID-19 when offered. The booster programme is open to every adult who has had a second dose of the vaccine at least 3 months ago.

NKF has produced a lanyard for people to wear when out in public, to remind others to social distance. We have had lots of great feedback about the lanyard and we have sold 16,000 to date.

To order our NKF branded face masks please visit here or call 01909 544999 where you can place your order and we can take payment by card.

The NKF has worked with a coalition of over 20 charities in the #SafeAtWork coalition and this letter can be downloaded here and shared with employers to help discussions about a safe return to the workplace.

Find some top tips from kidney patient and professional groups here

UK Kidney Association statement on the care of adult clinically extremely vulnerable kidney patients after easing of COVID-19 restrictions on 19th July

Summary of key messages

    1. COVID-19 vaccination offers the best available protection to clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) kidney patients and should be recommended to all kidney patients.

    2. Some kidney patients may not have achieved full protection from vaccination with 2 doses of an MHRA approved COVID-19 vaccine.

    3. We recommend that all CEV kidney patients (those at Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Stage 5, on dialysis, with a kidney transplant or who are on significant immunosuppression for autoimmune kidney disease) continue to follow enhanced precautions, following the lifting of wider restrictions on 19 July 2021.

    4. Healthcare facilities should maintain full protective environments in kidney dialysis units and kidney outpatient areas and should continue to provide COVID-19 protected “green” pathways for kidney dialysis patients, transplant recipients and patients who are on or have recently received significant immunosuppression for autoimmune kidney disease. This should include the provision of COVID-19 safe hospital transport for CEV kidney patients.

    The full document is available on the COVID-19 pages of the UKKA website.

    Recommendations for Minimising the Risk of Transmission of COVID-19 in UK Adult Haemodialysis Units 



    Please call our freephone helpline if you would like to chat to one of our advisers about your concerns - 0800 169 09 36

    We know patients are very concerned about Coronavirus (Covid-19). The NKF are working with the National Renal Guidance Group for Covid-19. This is a group of specialist clinicians, partners and patient charities, who are providing the latest clinical and patient guidance during these very worrying times.

    The NKF have written to all NHS Trust chief executives, to highlight the importance of in-centre dialysis patients wearing appropriate face masks. These are for use when travelling to and from dialysis, throughout the prescribed dialysis treatment, and in waiting and assessment areas being used both before and after treatment.


    Vaccination information

    New antibody and antiviral treatments to people with Coronavirus (COVID-19) 20/12/2021

    The NHS is offering new antibody and antiviral treatments to people with Coronavirus (COVID-19) who are at highest risk of becoming seriously ill, this includes Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) stage 4 or 5 or had an organ transplant.

    2 types of COVID-19 treatment are available:

    Sotrovimab (Xevudy)  - Sotrovimab is a biological medicine. It is also known as a neutralising monoclonal antibody (nMAb).

    Molnupiravir (Lagevrio)  - Molnupiravir is an antiviral medicine.

    These treatments can help some people manage their COVID-19 symptoms and reduce the risk of becoming seriously ill.  For more details please visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/treatments-for-coronavirus/

    UK Marks One Year Since Approving Covid-19 Vaccine with Boost Day 02/12/2021
    The UK is marking one year since it became the first country in the world to approve Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine with a “Boost Day” call.

    This week, in light of the new Omicron variant, the government has expanded the booster programme to all adults over 18 and announced that all eligible people will be offered a top-up jab by the end of January 2022.

    JCVI Advice on the UK Vaccine Response to the Omicron Variant 29/11/2021

    The JCVI have been developing advice on extension of the UK programme, including whether to offer booster doses to those aged 18 to 39 years, second doses for those aged 12 to 15 years, and first and second doses for those aged 5 to 11 years. This process has been expedited and reviewed in light of the emergence of the Omicron variant.

    We do not yet know the extent of protection COVID-19 vaccines will provide against the Omicron variant.

    If you are aged 16 and over and are immunosuppressed you will be offered a fourth, booster dose, three months after your third primary dose. You should be invited to attend locally or through your specialist unit, or if you have a letter from your doctor you should be able to go to a walk-in centre. If you let the vaccination centre know you are immunosuppressed they can shorten your wait. The NHS have issued a letter on how this process should work.

    A minimum gap of 3 months rather than 6 months has now been recommended by the JCVI between completion of the primary vaccine course and the booster dose.

    Third primary doses for the immunocompromised are now available to book online via NHS England here. You will still need a referral letter to make the booking of your third primary dose.

    The NKF welcomes the guidance for a third dose of the vaccine and now a further booster to provide and protect for those who are immunosuppressed and who may not make as strong a response to the Covid vaccine as others.

    JCVI Issues Advice on Covid-19 Booster Vaccines for Those Aged 40 to 49 and Second Doses for 16 to 17 year Olds 15/11/2021

    JCVI has advised that, in addition to those aged over 50 years and at higher risk from Coronavirus, all adults aged 40 to 49 years should be offered an mRNA booster.

    The NHS provide information on the 3rd dose here for people who are immunosuppressed.

    Boosters Programme Information 11/10/2021

    Many people eligible for a Covid-19 booster will also be offered a free flu vaccination and it is important that these individuals get an appointment as soon as they are offered. 

    The JCVI have advised that it is safe and effective to get the Covid-19 booster and flu vaccines at the same time. Where possible, the NHS will try to schedule these appointments together, however those offered appointments should take them up without delay to ensure they get the protection they need. 

    Covid-19 booster and flu vaccinations are available at vaccination centres, GPs or community pharmacists. 

    Those eligible for NHS influenza vaccination in 2021/22 are:
    all children aged two to fifteen (but not sixteen years or older) on 31 August 2021 (i.e. all children up to year 11 of secondary school)

    • those aged six months to under 50 years in clinical risk groups
      • chronic (long-term) respiratory disease, such as asthma (requires continuous or repeated use of inhaled or systemic steroids or with previous exacerbations requiring hospital admission), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchitis
      • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
      • chronic kidney disease at stage 3, 4 or 5
      • chronic liver disease
      • chronic neurological disease, such as Parkinson’s disease or motor neurone disease
      • learning disability
      • diabetes
      • splenic dysfunction or asplenia
      • a weakened immune system due to disease (such as HIV/AIDS) or treatment (such as cancer treatment)
      • morbidly obese (defined as BMI of 40 and above)
    • pregnant women
    • those aged 50 years and over
    • those in long-stay residential care homes
    • carers
    • close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
    • health and social care staff employed by:
      • a registered residential care/ nursing home
      • registered domiciliary care provider
      • a voluntary managed hospice provider
      • Direct Payment (personal budgets) and/or Personal Health Budgets, such as Personal Assistants.

    There will be no offer of flu vaccination to the household contacts of the shielded, as people are no longer being asked to shield. However, all household contacts of the immunocompromised will continue to be offered flu vaccination, which has been a longstanding commitment in the programme.

    Over 35 million people will be eligible for a flu vaccination this season. This is for England only. This includes the expansion of the programme to those aged 50 to under 65 years old and all school aged children.


    Is there a letter I can show my consultant, GP or other health professional which shows to invite severely immunosuppressed people for their third Covid-19 vaccination?

    Here is the latest communication which was released on Thursday 30th September 2021. The JCVI states within the letter:

    "The specialist involved should advise on whether the patient fulfils the eligibility criteria and on the timing of any third primary dose. In general, vaccines administered during periods of minimum immunosuppression (where possible) are more likely to generate better immune responses. The third primary dose should ideally be given at least 8 weeks after the second dose, with special attention paid to current or planned immunosuppressive therapies guided by the following principles:

    • where possible, the third primary dose should be delayed until 2 weeks after the period of immunosuppression, in addition to the time period for clearance of the therapeutic agent

    • if not possible, consideration should be given to vaccination during a treatment ‘holiday’ or at a nadir of immunosuppression between doses of treatment”.

    SEE HERE FOR A GUIDE BY THE KIDNEY CHARITIES TOGETHER GROUP, DETAILING HOW THE COVID-19 VACCINE HELPS TO PROTECT, AND WHY YOU SHOULDN’T INTERPRET THE RESULTS OF AN ANTIBODY TEST AS AN INDICATION OF PROTECTION FROM INFECTION ANTIBODYPDF.PDF – 15/09/2021


    The NKF welcomes the guidance for a third dose of the vaccine and now a further booster to provide and protect for those who are immunosuppressed and who may not make as strong a response to the Covid vaccine as others.

    ENGLAND - WHO CAN GET A COVID-19 VACCINE

    Book your COVID-19 vaccination appointments here to book a 1st, 2nd, 3rd or booster dose of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine or manage an appointment.

    1st and 2nd Dose Information
    You can use this service to book a 1st and 2nd dose of the vaccine if you or your child are aged 12 years old or over. For more information visit here.

    If you're aged 18 years old or over.

    If you're 18 years old or over and booking a 2nd dose using this service, you'll be offered appointments from 8 weeks after your 1st dose.

    If you or your child are under 18 years old.

    If you or your child are under 18 years old and booking a 2nd dose using this service, you'll be offered appointments from 12 weeks after your 1st dose.

    If you or your child are at high risk from COVID-19, you're eligible for a 2nd dose from 8 weeks after your 1st dose. This service will offer you appointments from 12 weeks after your 1st dose. To get your 2nd dose from 8 weeks, please either:

    • contact your surgery
    • go to a walk-in site with a letter from a GP that says you're eligible for a 2nd dose from 8 weeks after your 1st dose

    Find out who can get the COVID-19 vaccine here 

    3rd Dose and Booster (4th dose) Information for people with a severely weakened immune system 
    The 3rd dose for people with a severely weakened immune system is different to a booster dose.

    The 3rd dose is for people who had a severely weakened immune system when they received their 1st or 2nd dose.

    The vaccine may not have given them as much protection as it can for people who did not have a severely weakened immune system.

    You can use this service to book a 3rd dose if all of these apply:

    • you’ve received a letter from your GP or hospital specialist inviting you to book a 3rd dose
    • you’re aged 16 years old or over
    • it’s been at least 8 weeks (56 days) since your 2nd dose

    You’ll need to bring the letter with you to your appointment.

    If you do not have a letter
    If you do not have a letter from your GP or hospital specialist inviting you for a 3rd dose, you must bring either:

    • a hospital letter that describes the condition or treatment that caused you to have a severely weakened immune system at the time of your 1st or 2nd dose
    • a prescription or a medicine box with your name and the date showing when the medicine was prescribed - this must show that you had a severely weakened immune system at the time of your 1st or 2nd dose

    A clinician at the site will check to make sure that you’re eligible for a 3rd dose.

    If you do not bring a letter, prescription or medicine box that shows you had a severely weakened immune system when you had your 1st or 2nd dose, you will not be able to receive a 3rd dose of the vaccine at your appointment. If you think you’re eligible for a 3rd dose but you do not have a suitable letter, prescription or medicine box, please contact your GP or hospital specialist.

    If you or your child are under 16 years old
    3rd doses at walk-in sites
    If you or your child are under 16 years old and eligible for a 3rd dose, you can take your letter to any walk-in vaccination site that is offering 3rd doses. 

    • a letter from your GP or hospital specialist inviting you to book a 3rd dose for people with a severely weakened immune system
    • a hospital letter that describes the condition or treatment that caused you to have a severely weakened immune system at the time of your 1st or 2nd dose
    • a prescription or a medicine box with your name and the date showing when the medicine was prescribed - this must show that you had a severely weakened immune system at the time of your 1st or 2nd dose

    You must take your evidence with you to the walk-in site. Please also check that the site is offering vaccines for your or your child’s age group.

    Boosters (4th doses) at walk-in sites

    If you or your child are eligible for a booster (4th dose), you can go to any walk-in vaccination site that is offering boosters if you have a letter from a GP or hospital specialist inviting you for either a 3rd dose or a booster (4th dose) for people with a severely weakened immune system.

    You must take your letter with you to the walk-in site. Please also check that the site is offering vaccines for your or your child’s age group.

    SCOTLAND - VACCINATIONS
    Find out who can get the COVID-19 vaccine here 

    Public Health Scotland has created a resource centre where you can find information about the Covid-19 vaccination, including where they'll be administered.

    WALES - VACCINATIONS
    Find out who can get the COVID-19 vaccine here

    The Welsh government has revealed the locations of vaccination centres across the country.

    NORTHERN IRELAND - VACCINATIONS

    Find out who can get a COVID-19 vaccine here


    The NKF have partnered with Kidney Research UK to fund a study to discover how well Covid-19 vaccinations work in people who go to hospital for dialysis.

    The NKF, along with other kidney charities, released a Covid-19 vaccination information for patients guide, which includes some common questions people have asked, with answers from kidney specialists.

    The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has approved three Covid-19 vaccinations. The first vaccine to be approved has been developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and has been rolled out to elderly people in care homes and care home staff.

    The second vaccine has been developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca and roll-out started in the UK on Monday 4th January 2021. Dialysis patient Brian Pinker was the first person to receive the vaccination. 

    The third vaccine has been produced by Moderna. The first dose was administered in Wales on 7th April 2021.

    The renal community provided key messages about the Covid-19 vaccination for people with CKD.

    The renal community released a joint-statement regarding the Covid-19 vaccination for adult patients with kidney disease.


    Vaccination webinar 29th June 2021

    NKF partnered with Kidney Care UK, Kidney Research UK, Polycystic Kidney Disease Charity and UK Kidney Association to deliver a webinar regarding the developments in our knowledge about the Covid vaccines and how people with suppressed immune systems are responding, as well as a discussion about how to return to normal activities and cope with anxiety as restrictions ease. We were joined by four kidney doctors, Dr Rebecca Suckling from Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust, Dr Andrew Frankel, Dr Steve McAdoo, and Dr Michelle Willicombe from Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. 

    You can view the webinar here:


    Travel

    England - Travel information for people in England. 

    Scotland - Travel rules and information on the process for people entering Scotland.

    Wales - Travel information for people in Wales.

    Northern Ireland - Travel advice for people in Northern Ireland.

    Dialysis Away From Base (DAFB) - A joint statement from professional and patient societies can be read here


    Research and studies on Coronavirus


    Stress and Anxiety

    We have put together some information to help you cope with stress and anxiety during these uncertain times.


    Research updates from NHS Blood and Transplant

    News about the work they are doing to reduce the impact of coronavirus


    The latest NHS information and advice about coronavirus (Covid-19) here


    Support for the extremely vulnerable

    Get coronavirus support as an extremely vulnerable person - Register if you have a medical condition that makes you extremely vulnerable to coronavirus. For example, you’ll be able to ask for help getting deliveries of essential supplies like food 

    In England

    In Scotland

    In Wales

    In Northern Ireland


    Further general advice

    Long Covid and the Covid Recovery Service 
    The online service NHS Your Covid Recovery is for those who have had Covid and want to understand what has happened and what you might expect as part of your recovery.

    If you think you have Covid symptoms you can use the NHS 111 assessment.

    Further general information and daily updates can be found on the GOV.UK.

    Information and guidance for renal professionals.