The parents of a Sydney teenager claim she is being denied lifesaving cancer treatment because she has not been vaccinated against Covid-19.
Dazelle Peters, 16, was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2020 and needs a lung transplant.
But her father Josh Peters said he was told by a surgeon at St Vincent’s Hospital that if his daughter did not get the jab she would be a “major threat to everyone (in the hospital) who had done the right thing”.
"The way he made us feel was that they didn't want to give her the lung transplant," he said.
Related: Melbourne mother seeks desperate overseas heart transplant.
The hospital told spokesperson confirmed their “policies and guidelines wouldn't support transplantation” of an unvaccinated person.
“Vaccination status against various infections is a critical part of this assessment in order to ensure optimal prospects of survival post-transplant,” a hospital spokesperson said.
“Accordingly, there are national guidelines and recommendations regarding vaccination before, and after organ transplants.”
Despite this, the spokesperson insisted every patient was assessed “individually”.
“There are other complexities that need to be assessed before an informed decision can be made about the appropriateness and practicality of transplantation for Dazelle,” the spokesperson said.
They said that when the teenager was given a bone marrow transplant her body's immune system attacked the donor's blood cells, considering them as foreign.
Being immuno-system compromised could further complicate a transplant procedure, they said.
“We have requested further follow-up from her and her doctors in order to make an informed assessment,” the spokesperson said.
Former deputy chief medical officer Dr Nick Coatsworth said there were valid reasons for requiring transplant patients to take the Covid vaccine.
“From a transplant physician's point of view, the biggest risk to you is when we hit your immune system like that, if you get Covid-19 without having the vaccine, then there is a significant risk that organ will die with you,” he said earlier this year.
“And we don't want that to happen to you, and we don't want it to happen to the family who has made that sacred donation.”