KEY POINTS

  • The 31-year-old man is no longer eligible to undergo a heart transplant because he refuses to get vaccinated against COVID-19
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital said the vaccine is a requirement for the operation
  • The man's family is considering transferring him, but he may be too weak to be moved

A hospital in Massachusetts is refusing to perform a heart transplant on a patient because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston said 31-year-old DJ Ferguson, who is currently fighting for his life at the medical facility, was no longer eligible for a heart transplant, according to hospital policy, for refusing to get his jabs, WBZ Channel 4 reported.

The COVID-19 vaccine is "one of several vaccines and lifestyle behaviors required for transplant candidates" in the hospital's health network, Mass General Brigham, "in order to create both the best chance of successful operation and also the patient's survival after transplantation," Brigham and Women’s Hospital said in a statement.

Dr. Arthur Caplan, head of medical ethics at New York University Grossman School of Medicine, also said that being vaccinated was necessary for procedures such as heart transplants as the operations would "shut off" the immune system.

"The flu could kill you, a cold could kill you, COVID could kill you. The organs are scarce, we are not going to distribute them to someone who has a poor chance of living when others who are vaccinated have a better chance post-surgery of surviving," Caplan explained.

However, Ferguson reportedly does not believe in vaccination and claimed that it was "against his basic principles."

"It’s his body. It’s his choice," David Ferguson, DJ's father, said.

Tracey Ferguson, DJ's mother, noted that her son has "always informed himself against vaccines" due to his intermittent heart issues and that "he also knew that, traditionally, vaccines took years to be approved," a report by WCVB Channel 5 said.

DJ, a father of two with another one on the way, remains at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, but his family is now mulling over the idea of transferring him despite him already being "too weak" to be moved, according to CBS News.

"We are aggressively pursuing all options, but we are running out of time," David said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains that COVID-19 vaccines are "safe and effective" and that only on "rare" occasions do "serious safety problems" arise.

The U.S. has reported a total of 71,818,876 COVID-19 cases and 866,968 virus-related deaths thus far, according to data provided by the agency.

vaccination-2722937_1920 Representation. DJ Ferguson, 31, did not believe in getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and claimed that it was "against his basic principles." Photo: Pixabay