Prof. Clark-Cutaia to study COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among patients with kidney disease

February 04, 2021

Maya Clark-Cutaia, PhD, ANCP-BC, RN, assistant professor at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing, is the co-investigator of a winning submission for the KidneyX COVID-19 Kidney Care Challenge. Working with Lama Nazzal, MD, a nephrologist at NYU Langone Health and David Charytan, MD, director of the Division of Nephrology and Norman S. Wikler Associate Professor of Medicine at NYU Langone Health, their winning project will characterize determinants of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in a diverse population with end-stage kidney disease using mixed methods research.

The knowledge gained will be used to inform multidisciplinary and tailored interventions to increase vaccine acceptance in end-stage kidney disease patients, with the goal of increasing vaccine uptake to greater than 70 percent within three months following implementation.

Individuals with end-stage kidney disease undergoing dialysis are at increased risk of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality; if hospitalized with COVID-19, this population’s mortality risk is approximately 30 percent.

“The best approach to build widespread COVID-19 immunity is a mass vaccination campaign, but reports of high rates of vaccine hesitancy are concerning,” said Clark-Cutaia. “We believe vaccine uptake can be improved using tailored and targeted interventions.”

In their project, Clark-Cutaia, Charytan, and Nazzal will gather data from dialysis patients in New York City to explore perceptions of discrimination, mistrust, and stigma surrounding communicable disease, as well as individual and group-based factors that influence vaccination hesitancy. They will use both surveys to measure barriers and facilitators to vaccination, as well as a qualitative component to examine cultural beliefs and attitudes, perceived expectations, and preferences that influence the ability and willingness to get vaccinated. Their findings will inform interventions to increase vaccine uptake in people with end-stage kidney disease.

KidneyX—short for the Kidney Innovation Accelerator—is a public-private partnership between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the American Society of Nephrology. The KidneyX COVID-19 Kidney Care Challenge was created to identify and share solutions that reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission and risk among people with, or at risk of, kidney injury or disease. Winning projects are funded with $20,000 prizes.