Vulnerable Queenslanders waiting for a life-saving organ transplant will be denied medical treatment unless they are fully vaccinated, regardless of genuine concerns about vaccine side effects.
All potential organ transplant patients must have a minimum of two doses before surgery – a process that takes more than a month to complete. They fear that this delay will leave them at increased risk of serious harm, even if they agree to abide by the restriction.
Patients are furious about the new regulation.
Dana Ward, a 23-year-old from the Gold Coast, had a pancreas and kidney transplant in 2009. Her body has rejected the kidney, placing her in urgent need of a transplant to save her life.
“I have been told that if I received a kidney and then got Covid it would be a waste of an organ. I even have a donor ready to go but it’s been made clear nothing will go ahead until I am fully vaccinated,” said Ms Ward, who is now considering taking the vaccine even though it goes expressly against her wishes.
Kidney, lung, and heart transplant patients have told the Courier Mail that they remain unvaccinated because they fear side effects from the vaccine that could make them even more ill than they already are. This is particularly true of those on complex medication schedules or in an especially fragile condition.
Queensland Health has stood by its decision, insisting that it was backed by health authorities and indigenous representatives.
“A recipient is highly immunosuppressed post-transplant, which is why it’s incredibly important for the person to be vaccinated prior to transplant. Queensland Health prioritises safety before, during and after a transplant,” said a spokesman for Queensland Health.
The patients involved now have no choice; hospitals will deny life-saving care unless they get vaccinated.
Unvaccinated patients have had their surgery put on hold. There will be a review of the policy in February 2022.
This follows Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s press release stating that unvaccinated Queenslanders will find themselves locked out of most facilities from December 17 as the state reaches 80% vaccination levels. It is already the case that unvaccinated people are banned from visiting loved ones in hospital except under a small number of special conditions.