Non-immunized patients are expelled from transplant waiting lists

A growing number of medical facilities across the country are channeling coveted organ donations to patients vaccinated against COVID-19, pushing unvaccinated people down or even off transplant waiting lists.

The thinking behind this step is simple: As the pandemic coronavirus continues to spread in the United States, candidates for unvaccinated transplants face an extremely high risk of contracting COVID-19, posing a risk to them and compromising the usefulness of rare, life-saving drugs. Members.

Receiving a transplant requires that patients take immunosuppressive drugs that prevent their bodies from rejecting the new organ as foreign. But this immunosuppression makes recipients more vulnerable to infection with the pandemic coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and the development of severe COVID-19. Some experts estimate that the risk of transplant recipients dying from COVID-19 is as high as 20 to 30 percent.

The odds of survival have always been taken into account when prioritizing who will receive donated organs. Requiring vaccinations against devastating infectious diseases is also standard. Organ recipients are generally required to be vaccinated against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza and tetanus, among other diseases.

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However, the COVID-19 vaccines, which are newly approved by the Food and Drug Administration, are still fresh on the lists. On August 13, the American Society for Transplantation and the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) A joint statement was issued Recommending that “all solid organ transplant recipients should be vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2,” and that “all eligible family members and close contacts” of such recipients should be vaccinated. More and more transplant programs are adopting this policy – but not all yet.

The fact that some non-vaccinated patients are getting off some of the member’s waiting lists made headlines recently with the story of a non-vaccinated woman from Colorado named Leilani Lutali. UCHealth in Denver declined Lutali’s kidney transplant surgery because she had not been vaccinated and informed her in a letter that it would be listed as “broken“On a kidney transplant waiting list if you don’t get your first vaccine dose within 30 days. Lutali, from For the Associated Press A born-again Christian without denomination, she says she objects to vaccinations for religious reasons. With the national patchwork of vaccine requirements for transplant patients, Lutali is now seeking to do the transplant in another state, such as Texas or Florida, at facilities that do not require a COVID-19 vaccination.

“I feel compelled to not be able to wait and see and that I have to take the photo if I want this life-saving transplant,” Lotale told Kaiser Health News.

Port note that there are approximately 107,000 people are waiting for members In the United States – more than 90,000 of them, like Lotali, are waiting for a kidney. KHN reports that dozens of people who need different organs die every day while waiting.

“We order hepatitis and influenza vaccinations, and nobody has a problem with that,” Dr. Kapilkumar Patel, director of the lung transplant program at Tampa General Hospital in Florida, told KHN. And now we have this one vaccine that can save lives and have an impact on post-transplant recovery. And we have this huge hype from the public.”

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