9NEWS reports on a policy instituted by the UCHealth system over the summer that should be uncontroversial, but in this age where medicine has been hopelessly politicized–especially where it concerns the COVID-19 pandemic–that just doesn’t happen anymore:
UCHealth confirmed Tuesday that organ transplant recipients and living donors must be vaccinated against COVID-19 “in almost all situations.”
In a statement, the hospital system said studies indicate the mortality rate for transplant recipients who test positive for COVID ranges from 18% to 32%, compared to a 1.6% mortality rate among all people who have tested positive. [Pols emphasis]
UCHealth said the policy change was driven by the significantly higher mortality rate, as well as the concern that living donors could still pass on a COVID infection after testing negative.
Clarification of this policy came after Republican state representative Tim Geitner threw a fit on social media, predictably looking to blame Gov. Jared Polis personally for UCHealth’s policy of requiring transplant candidates to be vaccinated–not just against COVID-19, but a host of other conditions along with numerous other rules transplant candidates follow out of medical necessity. From UCHealth’s statement yesterday in response to Geitner’s antics:
Transplant centers across the nation, including the UCHealth Transplant Center, have specific requirements in place to protect patients both during and after surgery. For example, patients may be required to receive vaccinations including hepatitis B, MMR and others. Patients may also be required to avoid alcohol, stop smoking, or prove they will be able to continue taking their anti-rejection medications long after their transplant surgery. These requirements increase the likelihood that a transplant will be successful and the patient will avoid rejection.
As for the objections from the patient and donor against being vaccinated before the kidney transplant can proceed? All we can ask is for readers to assess the legitimacy of these objections yourselves:
[Donor Jaimee] Fougner said after doing further research, she has realized most modern medical products use the same stem cell line, and she has stopped using them. She said she believes God forgives “sins of ignorance.”
[Patient Leilani] Lutali said she is further concerned about the future impact of the vaccine.
“I am choosing to not go forward with something right now because I feel like I don’t have enough information to understand what the implications are to my health in the future,” she said.
In short, we have a patient and donor ready to undertake this medical procedure:
But not this one:
Sorry folks, but modern medicine simply has no obligation to accommodate this kind of ignorance. In fact, in an era where misinformation outraces the truth among an uninformed population on a routine basis, it’s even more important that our health systems stand strong against medically unsound objections. Kidneys like other major organs are precious, and if you need a new one you do what the doctor says to qualify. If you don’t, there are thousands behind you on the transplant list waiting for their chance who will follow the rules–not to mention be less likely to die from COVID while living the rest of their lives with a compromised immune system.
As for Rep. Geitner, who doesn’t even play a doctor on television?
Start by getting a clue.