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COVID-19 update: Jan. 21, 2022

COVID-19 update: Jan. 21, 2022

Resources for members to share with patients

Please see a new section below with information transplant professionals can share directly with patients. We encourage you to copy and use this resource in your communications about COVID-19 prevention.

Even in a time of evolving clinical understanding of COVID-19 precautions, it is important for transplant programs to communicate proactively and systematically with transplant candidates and recipients on ways to prevent COVID-19 transmission and to monitor themselves for potential exposure. Many patients are particularly seeking guidance on vaccination, in light of new recommendations for COVID-19 vaccination for immunocompromised individuals.

UNOS is working with medical and scientific organizations and public health agencies to provide transplant hospitals with updated information to guide patient care. We will continue to update the COVID-19 resource pages on the OPTN and UNOS websites, so please check back frequently for news and updates you can use to help keep your patients informed.

As always, individual transplant programs are in the best position to advise patients in their care regarding vaccination, masking and social distancing.

COVID-19 Summary of Evidence report updated

The COVID-19 Summary of Evidence report has been updated, with information specific to the Omicron variant as well as results from a longer term of monitoring data regarding required lower respiratory specimen testing for potential lung donors.

Compiled by the OPTN Ad Hoc Disease Transmission Advisory Committee (DTAC), the document includes the latest information known for minimizing the risk of donor-derived COVID-19 transmission while maximizing donor utilization.

The committee developed the summary in collaboration with colleagues representing AST, ASTS, AOPO, HRSA and the CDC. DTAC is reviewing the document on a quarterly basis.


Transplant candidate waiting list data reporting policy reinstated due to COVID-19 impact

The OPTN Executive Committee has reinstated OPTN Policy 1.4.F, which authorizes transplant programs, as needed, to “carry forward” the most recent clinical data available when obtaining updated data is not feasible due to effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Details of the policy are available in the policy notice on the OPTN website.

This is the same policy earlier in effect from March 17, 2020 to July 27, 2021.

Several transplant hospitals requested reinstatement of the policy due to resource challenges posed by the current surge in COVID-19 cases. The OPTN Executive Committee approved this action Jan. 11, 2022, as an emergency policy per the OPTN bylaws. The policy will expire in 90 days unless the Executive Committee deems it necessary to continue in light of the current COVID-19 situation.

This policy does not reinstate all previous emergency policies that address broader data collection requirements.

Additional information, including an illustrated example, is available here on the UNOS website.

Winter 2022 regional meetings to be virtual

In order to protect the safety of our community and their patients during the wave of Omicron infections occurring right now, the OPTN has changed all regional meetings to virtual meetings. Please visit your region’s page for more information about your specific meeting.

Registration and additional meeting details are also available on your region’s webpage. Learn more about regional meetings.

Site surveys to remain virtual in February 2022

While Member Quality hopes to conduct all routine reviews for all member organizations onsite beginning in 2022, all February 2022 site surveys will be conducted virtually in order to ensure the health and well-being of members and their patients as well as our site survey staff. We will continue to monitor pandemic conditions and keep members informed of any changes.

Please email [email protected] with any questions about site surveys.

Committee meetings

The health and safety of OPTN members is a priority for UNOS. The list of all scheduled meetings will be updated on the calendar of events to reflect updates related to in-person vs. virtual meetings.

The latest data on organ donation and transplant in the U.S.

Find high-level data on transplants, deceased donors recovered, patients added to the waitlist and patients temporarily moved to inactive waitlist status.


For COVID-19 related policy and operational questions, email [email protected]


Patient-friendly information for members to share

To help you quickly and easily share the latest updates and resources about COVID-19 prevention with your patients, here is information you can copy and add to your regular communications. This section will be a permanent addition to the UNOS COVID-19 update and will be updated frequently. Find more helpful information about COVID-19 prevention at

Transplant patients: Looking for answers to questions about COVID-19 and transplant?

 Go to for the latest news and resources, including:

 Frequently asked questions and answers

  • As a transplant recipient, do I qualify for a fourth dose of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna) or a Johnson & Johnson vaccine?
  • What COVID-19 treatments are available for those who are immunosuppressed?
  • Are there any ongoing concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on fully-vaccinated transplant recipients?
  • Is a COVID-19 vaccination required in order to receive an organ transplant?

Vaccine information

  • Third dose of COVID-19 vaccine approved by FDA for immunocompromised children ages 5 through 11
  • Antibody-based prophylaxis approved by FDA for immunocompromised people
  • Additional dose of vaccine for immunocompromised people endorsed by CDC
  • CDC explains why moderately or severely immunocompromised people may not get a protective immune response after initial vaccination and why protection from primary vaccination may lessen over time


  • The COVID-19 Vaccine: What does it mean for our transplant recipient children. Presented by Transplant Families and the American Society of Transplantation (AST)
  • COVID-19 and Transplant: Patient questions answered. Hosted by UNOS Chief Medical Officer, David Klassen, M.D.

 Spanish language resources

  • Information about COVID-19 vaccines for Hispanic patients from the American Society of Transplantation (AST)


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