Organ Transplants Still Denied to Unvaccinated Patients in Queensland, Australia

By Daniel Y. Teng
Daniel Y. Teng
Daniel Y. Teng
Writer
Daniel Y. Teng is based in Sydney. He focuses on national affairs including federal politics, COVID-19 response, and Australia-China relations. Got a tip? Contact him at daniel.teng@epochtimes.com.au.
November 23, 2022 Updated: November 23, 2022

A year on, unvaccinated patients will still be unable to access transplant surgeries for kidneys, lungs, or hearts in the state of Queensland, Australia.

In a statement to The Epoch Times, Queensland Health confirmed the ban was ongoing, saying the “safety and wellbeing” of patients was the department’s priority.

“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,” a spokesperson said on Nov. 23.

“That is why the Queensland Kidney Transplant Service has endorsed a minimum requirement of two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine prior to receiving a kidney, lung, or heart transplant.

“Prior to transplant and as per normal process, the recipient must ensure all of their vaccinations are up to date. The COVID-19 vaccination is no different.”

Unvaccinated renal patients are placed “On Hold” until they are fully vaccinated, or the current policy settings are changed.

Queensland Health monitors and reviews advice around vaccinations, noting that its decision was backed by clinicians, consumers, and Indigenous groups.

Australia has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world now, with 95.9 percent of those over 16 having two doses of a vaccine and 72.3 percent with the booster (the third dose).

Texas Unwinds Its Vaccination Requirements for Organ Transplants

The move from Queensland Health comes as the U.S. state of Texas removed its vaccination requirement for organ transplant recipients.

“Here in Texas, vaccines remain voluntary and never forced. Anyone being denied critical, life-saving organ transplants is welcome here in Texas, where one’s rights and freedoms are always protected,” said Gov. Greg Abbott in a statement.

The move comes after the University of Colorado Hospital was revealed to have denied a kidney transplant to a patient because of their vaccination status.

The patient, Dawn McLaughlin, said she had been advised by her doctor not to get vaccinated, according to a CBS 4 report.

She was subsequently put on the inactive list.

UCHealth released a formal statement on Twitter on Oct. 6 in response to the matter.

“There have recently been many questions about UCHealth’s requirements for patients who need an organ transplant. Here is some information about our decision. Physicians must consider the short- and long-term health risks for patients as they consider whether to recommend an organ transplant,” the health system wrote.

McLaughlin has since been connected with UT Southwestern in Dallas, Texas. The hospital has offered to assist McLaughlin, only requiring a rapid COVID-19 test.

Christopher Burroughs contributed to this article.

Daniel Y. Teng
Daniel Y. Teng is based in Sydney. He focuses on national affairs including federal politics, COVID-19 response, and Australia-China relations. Got a tip? Contact him at daniel.teng@epochtimes.com.au.