Two Ohio Hospital Systems Say They Will Require Transplant Patients to Be Vaccinated

A Moroccan health worker prepares of the Pfizer-BioNTech at a Covid-19 vaccination centre, in the city of Sale, on October 5, 2021. (Photo by FADEL SENNA / AFP) (Photo by FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images)
FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images

Two hospital systems, the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals, say they will require transplant patients to be vaccinated for the Chinese coronavirus. The news follows the story of UCHealth denying a woman a kidney transplant because she did not receive a vaccination.

Cleveland Clinic announced it is now requiring both donors and transplant patients to be vaccinated for the Chinese coronavirus prior to undergoing the surgery, citing the “health and safety” of patients.

“Cleveland Clinic has recently developed safety protocols for solid organ transplantation that require COVID-19 vaccination to be an active transplant candidate or living donor,” the hospital system said in a statement:

Vaccination is particularly important in these patients for their safety. For the living donor, preventing COVID-19 infection around the time of a surgical operation is crucial. For the transplant candidate, in addition to a major operation, medications taken after an organ transplant weaken a person’s immune response. Serious complications of COVID-19 are most likely to develop in those individuals who have weakened immune systems, as their body has a reduced ability to fight and recover from infections. The FDA-authorized vaccines have been determined to be safe and effective and are the best way to prevent severe illness and death from COVID-19.

According to Cleveland, the clinic said it has “not removed anyone from the transplant wait list because he or she was not vaccinated” as of yet, but patients on the waiting list currently have until November 1 to get vaccinated.

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 24: U.S. President Joe Biden gestures as he delivers remarks on his administration’s COVID-19 response and vaccination program from the State Dining Room of the White House on September 24, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden announced that Americans 65 and older and frontline workers who received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine over six months ago will be eligible for booster shots. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

U.S. President Joe Biden gestures as he delivers remarks on his administration’s COVID-19 response and vaccination program from the State Dining Room of the White House on September 24, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Similarly, University Hospitals said its UH Transplant Institute will now require coronavirus vaccinations for its “patient population.” The statement reads:

The health and safety of our patients is a top priority for us at University Hospitals. In light of recent studies pointing to the risk solid organ recipients and living donors face if they contract COVID-19, the UH Transplant Institute will begin requiring COVID vaccinations for its patient population.  We are following policies in this area already put into place at several other Ohio and national systems, and recommended by national transplant associations. Vaccination is particularly important in these patients for their safety. Transplant recipients are required to take medications to prevent organ rejection which weakens the immune system.  For living donors, prevention of COVID around the time of surgery is essential.  The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and the best way to prevent severe illness and death from COVID-19.

Protestors opposed to coronavirus vaccine mandates and vaccine passports by the government rally at City Hall in New York City on August 25, 2021. (Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

Protestors opposed to coronavirus vaccine mandates and vaccine passports by the government rally at City Hall in New York City on August 25, 2021. (Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

The news follows the controversial decision of Colorado’s UCHealth, which is refusing transplants to people who are unvaccinated. It reportedly rejected Leilani Lutali, a woman suffering from stage five renal failure, because both she and her donor are unvaccinated.
As Breitbart News reported:

“At the end of August, they confirmed that there was no COVID shot needed at that time,” Lutali told CBS 4. “Fast forward to Sept. 28. That’s when I found out. Jamiee learned they have this policy around the COVID shot for both for the donor and the recipient.”

Fougner has not received the vaccine citing religious beliefs, per CBS 4. At the same time, Lutali believes there are too many unknowns regarding the vaccine, and also informed CBS 4 that she had the virus and has earned natural immunity.

“I said I’ll sign a medical waiver. I have to sign a waiver anyway for the transplant itself, releasing them from anything that could possibly go wrong,” Lutali said. “It’s surgery, it’s invasive. I sign a waiver for my life. I’m not sure why I can’t sign a waiver for the COVID shot.”

“I feel coerced,” she expressed. “I feel like my life is being held in their hands in exchange for a shot, and the attitude is ‘just take the shot.’”

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