Consultants have been advised to suspend patients on the waiting list for a kidney transplant until after Covid if they are unvaccinated, according to a letter from Beaumont Hospital, where the national kidney transplant service is based.
As reported by the Irish Examiner, a statement from the hospital said people who cannot comply with protective measures, which includes vaccination, will remain "active" on the transplant programme, however, their procedure may be deferred if a risk assessment deems the risk to be "too high at that time because of inability to engage with protective measures or for any other reason".
The letter to consultants involved in the service, dated August 3rd, asked for a list of patients "who are on the transplant waiting list who are currently not vaccinated" to be supplied.
"In view of the risk of transmission, particularly of new Covid variants, we feel that it will not be possible to continue to offer transplantations to unvaccinated recipients," the letter added.
Potential transplant recipients were urged to get vaccinated, and if they cannot get the jab, "for whatever reason", the letter recommends they be "suspended from the waiting list with immediate effect until the Covid crisis has passed and there is no risk of transmission of Covid for the individual patient, or to members of staff, or other patient who are immunosuppressed in the transplant unit".
In a statement to the Examiner on Friday, Beaumont said Covid carries a particular risk to kidney, liver, pancreas, lung and heart transplant recipients as the immune system is considerably weakened following the procedure, confirming unvaccinated patients will remain active on the transplant programme.
“In the event of a donation episode, a risk/benefit assessment will be completed to determine whether a safe and successful transplant can be undertaken in all the circumstances.
“Risk assessment may result in deferral of transplant surgery if the risk to the person is considered too high at that time because of inability to engage with protective measures or for any other reason,” the statement added.