When a Colorado woman discovers that the hospital where she is being treated does not allow kidney transplant surgery unless she is vaccinated against the COVID-19 vaccine, she is faced with a difficult decision that confronts her health needs with religious beliefs.
Leilani Lutali, who was born a Christian, is very devout in her beliefs.
Although she has stage five kidney disease that puts her at risk of dying if she doesn’t get a new kidney soon, the 56-year-old said she did not agree to the vaccine because of the role of fetal cells in the development of the vaccine. Several decades ago, some of the existing fetal cell types used fetal tissue and were widely used in the medical world. But at this time no longer use the original cell network, but clones.
UCHealth requires transplant recipients to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 vaccine because the recipient of the new organ has a significant risk of contracting the coronavirus, being hospitalized and dying from the deadly virus.
Doctors say unvaccinated donors can also transmit COVID-19 to organ recipients, even though in preliminary medical tests he tested negative for COVID-19.
The best time to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 vaccine is before an organ transplant.
If time permits, the patient should also have a second dose of vaccine available at least a few weeks before the transplant operation “so that the body has a good immune response to the vaccine,” said Dr. Deepali Kumar, President of the AST American Transplant Society and an infectious disease physician.
Most religious teachings have no objection to the COVID-19 vaccine. But the presence of vaccines has indeed sparked a long-standing heated debate about the role of cells derived from fetal tissue – directly or indirectly – in research and development of vaccines and drugs.
Associated Press reports to Lutali, who works at a technology company, it seems that the hospital where he was treated was so determined to save him from COVID-19 that it was willing to let him die by blocking his transplant surgery.
Lutali, who is not a member of a religious denomination, said his belief in an afterlife made him less afraid of living with the shadow of death. He is currently looking for another hospital, perhaps in Texas or Florida, where he can undergo transplant surgery without needing to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 vaccine. [em/jm]