The World Forum - May 20th, 2024


Toronto hospital network to require organ transplant patients to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19


Canada’s largest transplant centre has enacted a precedent-setting policy requiring that patients be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to be considered for a life-saving organ transplant.

The decision – one carefully debated by doctors at Toronto’s University Health Network (UHN) – affects some 4,300 Canadians waiting for a donor organ to become available, as well as those who come after them.

Organ transplant recipients face unique risks posed by COVID-19.

While any type of surgery puts stress on a patient’s immune system, leaving them more vulnerable to contracting a virus like COVID-19, organ transplant recipients have an even greater risk thanks to the powerful regime of anti-rejection drugs they need to take in to suppress their immune system to keep their body from rejecting the new organ.

Not only are these patients’ immune systems compromised, they face greater risks of complications and death from COVID-19.

According to statistics provided by UHN, unvaccinated patients face a 12-per-cent higher risk of organ rejection and a 30 per cent greater chance of dying from COVID-19.