COVID-19 vaccine now mandatory for transplant recipients at London Health Sciences Centre

London Health Sciences Centre says Baby Niall was born at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 1. Matthew Trevithick / Global News

London Health Sciences Centre has implemented a new vaccine policy for future organ transplant recipients at the organization’s hospitals.

During Monday’s COVID-19 media briefing, LHSC staff announced that in order to receive an organ transplant through LHSC, a recipient will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The announcement comes as Canada’s organ transplant groups review COVID-19 vaccine policies throughout the country.

“The policy is intended to maximize safety for our transplant patients,” LHSC’s chief medical officer Dr. Adam Dukelow.

“like many other issues we address prior to transplantation, COVID-19 has a mortality risk that is two to five times higher in transplant patients than in the general population.”

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Dukelow noted that research has shown that the efficiency of the COVID-19 vaccine goes down or is completely not existent in people after receiving a transplant because of the drugs they are on to slow their immune response.

“All patients on the waiting list for an organ transplant are required to receive double vaccination with Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine,” Dukelow said.

“Those who are not fully vaccinated will be placed on hold until they receive both vaccines, or their care team accepts their exemption.”

During his announcement Monday, Dukelow reassured people that care will still be provided to all patients at the hospital regardless of vaccine status.

The new vaccine policy change takes effect immediately.

Other health-care institutions throughout the country and province are looking at similar policies.

— with files from The Canadian Press’ Brittany Hobson

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