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COVID-19 update: Jan. 7, 2021

COVID-19 update: Jan. 7, 2021

Upcoming requirements for COVID-19 testing data collection in DonorNet®

Beginning Jan. 27, DonorNet will require users to report if COVID-19 testing was performed on the donor. Prior to sending electronic organ offers, OPO members must answer the question, “Was COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) testing performed on the donor?”. The question was added to the donor record in April 2020 and appears under the “Infectious Diseases” tab in DonorNet. Read more about the upcoming change.

COVID-19 emergency policy actions remain in effect; please continue to complete follow-up forms whenever possible

In addition to making it a requirement for OPOs to document whether COVID-19 testing was performed for all potential deceased donors, the OPTN Board of Directors, at its Dec. 7 meeting, resolved that the following measures, originally enacted as emergency policy actions and intended to be time-limited during the pandemic declaration, remain in effect for now, subject to ongoing Executive Committee review for their applicability and effectiveness:

  • Updates to transplant candidate data allowing transplant programs that are unable to bring a candidate in for updated lab testing due to COVID-19 issues to supply candidate data obtained through previous testing.
  • Modifications to reporting wait time initiation for kidney transplant candidates who are not on dialysis, allowing programs to apply to retroactively initiate their waiting time.
  • Relaxation of certain data submission requirements for follow-up of transplant recipients and living donors that come due during the COVID-19 pandemic. Graft failure and death are still required to be reported during the amnesty period.

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, transplant programs have voluntarily completed more than 70 percent of the follow-up forms listed below during the period in which the data submission relaxation emergency policy has been in place:

  • Living donor follow-up form (LDF)
  • Organ-specific transplant recipient follow-up form (TRF)
  • Recipient malignancy form (PTM)

This data is critical to understanding transplant outcomes and determining any needed additions or changes to policy requirements for potential donors and recipients with a history of COVID-19.

UNOS has prepared a report transplant programs can access in the UNetSM data services portal to view the degree of form completion their program has currently achieved under the emergency action, as well as comparative data to put in context with transplant programs nationwide. UNOS has emailed transplant program directors and administrators with a customized summary for their program and will continue to provide periodic updates. Transplant program staff may also access the report from the data services portal by selecting Data Quality and Amnesty Summary Report.

The board strongly encourages transplant programs to continue providing these forms whenever possible. In addition to deciding when to repeal the relaxation, the executive committee will continue to consider which data will require retrospective data submission at a later date.

Read more about the policy measures.


COVID-19 vaccination

The American Society of Transplantation has published a FAQ intended to relay information on the current state of knowledge surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine. The document is subject to change and will be updated frequently as new information or data becomes available.

COVID-19 infections among recent organ recipients

In December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study about eight organ transplant recipients who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection.


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

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