For many people, vaccine mandates have become a choice between “job or jab,” but for a growing minority, refusing a COVID vaccine could be a literal choice between life and death.
The management of the Ontario-based London Health Sciences Centre’s transplant program has now decided on a new criterion for eligibility for organ recipients – they must be doubly vaccinated against coronavirus, with a vaccine that is approved by Health Canada.
According to the Centre’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Adam Dukelow, “COVID-19 has a mortality risk that is five times higher in transplant patients than in our general population. Research shows these patients will not respond as well or at all to the vaccine if they receive it after the transplant.
“Therefore, those who are not fully vaccinated will be placed on hold until they receive both vaccines or their care team accepts their exemption.”
Dr. Anthony Jevnikar, co-chair of the transplant program, stressed that the Centre is “not putting up barriers to life-saving transplants,” but that the “foundational element of this policy is patient safety.”
The Centre’s own publication, “COVID-19: Information for Transplant Patients,” states: “If you are not vaccinated and you get COVID-19, your risk of becoming very ill or dying is 2-5X higher than the general public. If you do not get your vaccine until after your transplant, the chance of getting a good vaccine response after transplant is much lower than the general public. This is because you are on drugs that slow down your immune response.”
However, a different publication by the Centre notes that:
“There is no definitive information on whether COVID-19 infection will be more severe in transplant recipients. Other viruses often cause more severe disease in people whose immune systems are low, such as transplant recipients.”
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