Humoral Response to the Third Dose of BNT162b2 COVID-19 Vaccine among Hemodialysis Patients

Timna Agur*, Boris Zingerman, Naomi Ben-Dor, Weaam Alkeesh, Tali Steinmetz, Ruth Rachamimov, Asher Korzets, Benaya Rozen-Zvi, Michal Herman-Edelstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Hemodialysis patients are at high risk for severe COVID-19 disease. Despite a high early seropositivity rate, dialysis patients mount a dampened immune response following two doses of an mRNA vaccine. This study aimed to evaluate the serologic response to a booster dose of BNT162b2 vaccine, 6 months after the second dose, among hemodialysis patients. Methods: This prospective study included 80 hemodialysis patients and 56 healthcare workers serving as controls. Serologic samples were evaluated before and ∼3 weeks after the third vaccine dose. The primary outcomes were the seropositivity rate and the log-transformed anti-SARS-COV-2 S1 (RBD) IgG as a continuous variable after the third dose. Secondary outcomes were the proportion of participants with "high response,"defined as antibody levels >1,000 AU/mL, and "robust response,"defined as antibody levels >4,160 AU/mL, according to prespecified cutoff values associated with neutralizing antibodies. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to identify predictors of antibody response. Results: Among 80 hemodialysis patients, seropositivity rates improved from 78% (62/80) before the third dose, up to 96% (77/80) after the booster dose. The S1-RBD log-transformed antibody level increased significantly following the third dose from 2.15 ± 0.75 to 3.99 ± 0.83 compared with 2.65 ± 0.4 to 4.31 ± 0.42 in the control group. Among the hemodialysis patients, 88% (70/80) became "high responders"(>1,000 AU/mL), and of these, 79% (63/80) mounted a "robust response"(>4,160 AU/mL). Baseline antibody level, dialysis therapy, and hypoalbuminemia were independent predictors of impaired antibody response. Conclusions: A third dose of BNT162b2 COVID-19 vaccine, 6 months after the standard two-dose vaccination regimen, substantially improved humoral response in hemodialysis patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-192
Number of pages8
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2023


  • Antibody response
  • COVID-19 vaccine
  • Hemodialysis patients
  • Third dose


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