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Man with prior infection denied kidney transplant for refusing to get COVID shot


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Someone with prior COVID infection can play in the NCAA without getting a shot, but someone who recovered from the virus and needs a kidney cannot get a transplant in many parts of the country. Hospitals are now requiring all patients to get a shot that has proven to barely stimulate immunity for immunocompromised people with failing organs, even if they have more robust natural immunity. The latest case of UVA Health denying a kidney to Shamgar Connors is as immoral as it is illogical and anti-science.

Shamgar Connors told Newsmax’s Grant Stinchfield last week that he was dropped from the active kidney transplant waiting list at UVA Health in Charlottesville, Virginia, for refusing to get the COVID shots. "I have natural immunity now,” said Shamgar, who is in stage V kidney failure and on dialysis every day. “It's like, why would I get a vaccine now for something I'm immune to, that's like saying I need a vaccine for chicken pox after I had it."

This is the point Connors made to Dr. Karen Warburton, the nephrologist at UVA Health, who informed him that he would be dropped from the donor list without the shots. Connors recorded the phone conversation with Warburton, in which she clearly was unaware of any of the academic papers regarding the efficacy of the shots vs. natural immunity, particularly for those who are immunocompromised.

When Connors told her he already had COVID, Warburton said, “You may have had Delta, and that may not protect you against the Omicron variant, which is what we’re seeing now.”

The problem with that statement is that although it’s true that one can get Omicron despite prior infection, the vaccines appear to work even less than prior infection! Moreover, even before Omicron, there was no evidence that the shots protected organ transplant patients with robust immunity, and quite the contrary, one study clearly showed that prior infection provided much better immunity against serious illness in solid organ transplant patients than the shots.

While the notion that someone concerned with the risk of the shots would be denied a transplant is shocking, the only rationale one could conceive is that they don’t want to “waste” a kidney on someone they believe might die from COVID. But if that is the rationale, then the shots themselves offer very little protection, not nearly as much as natural infection. Moreover, it shows that not only are nephrologists who engage in this discrimination against science, they are also derelict in their duty of treating organ transplant patients with known therapeutics that work as opposed to relying upon failed shots.

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