Those who over the past few years have been so recklessly and irrationally afraid of being denied lifesaving medical treatment due to their unvaccinated status can rest easy—sort of—knowing that they were actually right all along:
A Boston hospital says it won't consider performing a heart transplant on a patient who refuses to get vaccinated against COVID-19, CBS Boston reports.
DJ Ferguson, 31, is fighting for his life at Brigham and Women's Hospital and in desperate need of a heart transplant.
His father, David Ferguson, is speaking out passionately on behalf of his son who, he told CBS Boston, "has gone to the edge of death to stick to his guns and he's been pushed to the limit."
The hospital is defending its decision on what it suggests are standard policy grounds:
Brigham and Women's released a statement saying, "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."
NYU Grossman School of Medicine medical ethicist Arthur Caplan elaborated further on the issue:
"Post any transplant, kidney, heart whatever, your immune system is shut off," Caplan said. "The flu could kill you, a cold could kill you, COVID could kill you. The organs are scarce, we are not going to distribute them to someone who has a poor chance of living when others who are vaccinated have a better chance post-surgery of surviving."
Yes, it's true, transplant patients are uniquely vulnerable to pathogens. That should most certainly be considered when undergoing a transplant and deciding whether or not to get vaccinated.
Left out of this discussion is the fact that the COVID vaccine does not stop people from getting the virus. You are still perfectly capable of catching the virus even if you've been vaxxed. The CDC acknowledges as much, claiming only that the vax "help[s] keep adults and children from getting seriously sick," not that it necessarily prevents them from getting sick at all.
Of course, the claim could be that, even with imperfect vaccination, a transplant patient's chances of survival are still better with the vax than without it.
The fairly weak argument, then, runs something like this: "If you get vaccinated, there's a chance that, if you catch the disease—which you easily can even if you're vaccinated—you probably won't become sick enough post-transplant to threaten your life, at least relative to someone who isn't vaccinated."
Sorry if I'm not impressed by that.