David Ferguson is advocating for his son DJ, saying the 31-year-old is at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and desperately needs a heart transplant.
“My son has gone to the edge of death to stick to his guns and he’s been pushed to the limit,” Ferguson told CBS Boston recently.
According to family members, the man was at the top of the list to receive a transplant but because he has not had the coronavirus vaccine, he was no longer eligible per hospital policy.
Ferguson explained his son refused the shot.
“It’s kind of against his basic principles, he doesn’t believe in it. It’s a policy they are enforcing and so because he won’t get the shot, they took him off the list of a heart transplant,” Ferguson told the outlet.
The Brigham and Women’s Hospital webpage titled “COVID-19 vaccination for transplant candidates” read:
In alignment with recommendations from the American Society of Transplantation, American Society of Transplant Surgeons and International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation — and like many other transplant programs in the United States — the COVID-19 vaccine is one of several vaccines and lifestyle behaviors required for transplant candidates in the Mass General Brigham system in order to create both the best chance for a successful operation and also the patient’s survival after transplantation. Exceptions to these requirements are reviewed by a multidisciplinary group of experts in transplantation.
Research has shown that transplant recipients are at a higher risk of dying from COVID-19 when compared to non-transplant patients. Transplant recipients must take immunosuppressive medications after receiving a transplanted organ. This means that after a transplant, recipients will develop less of an antibody response to a vaccine and are especially vulnerable to severe illness if they contract the virus.
In August, U.S. regulators announced transplant recipients and other people with severely weakened immune systems could take an extra dose of the Pfizer or Moderna coronavirus vaccine for more protection as the delta variant surged, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
DJ is currently at the hospital. The father of two has another child on the way, and relatives said they were unsure about their next step.
They were considering transferring him, however, he could be too weak to be moved.
“We are aggressively pursuing all options, but we are running out of time,” Ferguson commented.
The family said DJ has received excellent care at Brigham and Women’s, but they did not agree with the heart transplant coronavirus vaccine policy.
“I think my boy is fighting pretty damn courageously and he has integrity and principles he really believes in and that makes me respect him all the more,” Ferguson stated, adding, “It’s his body. It’s his choice.”