(HorizonPost.com) – The COVID-19 vaccines have become a contentious point in society, with many deciding to refuse inoculations for a variety of different reasons. That “vaccine hesitancy” has crossed another barrier that could have literal life-or-death consequences for people: solid organ transplants, such as the liver or kidney.
US News & World Report puts out a yearly ranking of the best hospital systems in the United States. For 2021-22, the Cleveland (Ohio) Clinic is ranked second behind only the Mayo Clinic, and a recently updated policy has put them front and center of the controversy. The new requirement that both the (living) donor and recipient be fully vaccinated has disrupted the life-saving operations of at least two people in recent weeks.
— New York Post (@nypost) October 12, 2021
Mike Ganin was just less than a week from an already approved operation to receive a kidney from a family friend who had made it very clear from the beginning she had objections to vaccinating. Michelle Vitullo, who suffers from stage 4 liver disease, found the perfect match in her daughter. However, the family says the vaccine is “against our beliefs.”
An article described as a “personal viewpoint” in the American Journal of Transplantation looked at arguments people have posited for and against mandatory vaccinations. On the opposing side, they note “justice, autonomy, and medical coercion.” Arguments in favor they pinpointed were “utility, stewardship, and beneficence” (protecting others in the clinical environment).
Groups like the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) strongly favoring vaccination. Patients and families face pain, suffering, and loss of life unless hospitals lift restrictions. Caught in the middle, the medical community is left to navigate between the two imperatives with only the Hippocratic oath to guide them.
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