Unvaccinated People Denied Organ Transplants Prompt US Lawmakers to Propose SAVE ACT

Congressman Ben Cline introduced the SAVE Act to end discrimination in the treatment of the unvaccinated

Hospitals across the United States have denied patients organ transplants because they are not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Glenn Wilson, a Minnesota man, said his wife Justina was recently denied treatment because of her vaccination status.

“We are writing to share new guidelines regarding immunization against COVID-19 for patients seeking transplantation,” said an email sent to “Solid Organ Transplant Candidates” from the M Health Fairview hospital system. “At M Health Fairview, your safety is our top priority. Based on guidance from the American Society of Transplantation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, M Health Fairview is requiring all patients seeking transplantation to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Justina was at one time at the top of the transplant list because of the critical status of her cases. Glenn donated a kidney to her in 2007 which lasted 15 years — three times the average functioning length of a transplanted kidney.

When Justina needed another transplant in 2021, the hospital had changed its recipient qualifications. She tested positive for COVID and was kept in isolation while in the hospital’s care in the summer. Then, she was discharged after she recovered because she is not vaccinated.

“She will be condemned to a slow death by renal failure if she will not ‘volunteer’ to take an experimental vaccine,” Glenn Wilson told The Minnesota Sun this week.

Patients have reported being denied organ transplants unless they comply with vaccine mandates across the country, including in Colorado, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Virginia

Lawmakers in Congress have moved this month to end the exclusion of unvaccinated people from transplant lists.

The Stop Arduous Vaccine Enforcement (SAVE) Act of 2022, otherwise known as HR 6534, was introduced in the House on Feb. 1.

According to the proposal, the bill would “prohibit a transplant center from treating an individual as ineligible to donate or receive an organ, assigns a lower priority to an individual to receive an organ, or otherwise discriminates against an individual seeking to donate or receive an organ, on the basis of whether the individual is vaccinated (partially or fully) against COVID–19.”

Proposed by Republican Representative Ben Cline of Virginia, the measure has 34  Republican co-sponsor. The list includes Virginia Representatives Morgan Griffith, Bob Good, Rob Wittman, as well as Representative  Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, Rodney Davis of Illinois, Alex Mooney of West Virginia, and Doug La Malfa of California. Additionally, five representatives from Texas are co-sponsors of the bill.

“It is unimaginable that organ transplant centers would deny American citizens life-saving medical procedures solely for being unvaccinated against COVID-19,” said Cline in a statement to Fox News. “The SAVE Act ensures that no one is denied an organ transplant or donation based on their vaccination status. Getting vaccinated is a personal choice and should not be mandated.”

The SAVE Act is currently being reviewed by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

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