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Bioethics Program Director Dr. Robert Klitzman Discusses Organ Transplants and COVID-19 Vaccination Status

In late January, Dr. Robert Klitzman, Director of Columbia University’s Bioethics M.S. program, appeared on the TV program, "Inside Edition," to discuss a Boston man who was denied a heart transplant because he refused to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. While the patient, DJ Ferguson, was initially at the top of a heart transplant list, he was removed due to his vaccination status. 

Klitzman explained, “We have very few organs, so we have to decide who’s going to get them. And the way we decide is, we look at who’s most likely to survive the longest. So by saying, ‘I don’t want a vaccine,’. . . this patient is more likely to get COVID and die from COVID — and we could instead give the heart to someone who will live longer with it.” 
In order to receive transplants, the COVID-19 vaccine is now a common requirement, he added, “in order to create both the best chance for a successful operation and the patient’s survival."

Watch Dr. Klitzman’s interview here