“Life-or-death” situation for Easley man removed from organ transplant list for not getting vaccinated

Updated: Feb. 1, 2022 at 9:02 PM EST
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EASLEY, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - An Easley man said he was removed from the organ transplant list after refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Jason Wilson was just 10 years old when he went into kidney failure. He’s now 26.

Wilson had to go on dialysis two years ago and has been on the kidney transplant list at MUSC ever since.

“It’s a life-or-death situation,” Wilson said.

“Five to seven years is what the doctors first told me to live on dialysis.”

Wilson said MUSC removed him from the list earlier this month because he would not get the vaccine, but despite this requirement, he has no plans to get vaccinated.

According to Wilson, he received a letter from MUSC on November 1 which said he would get moved to inactive status if he didn’t get the vaccine by January 1.

“They say the average wait time is three to five years, and now I’m losing that time and if I get put back on it, I don’t know if they’re going to reinstate me or if I’m going to have to start all over,” Wilson said, “If I have to start over that’s going to get pretty scary towards the end of things.”

Wilson said nothing can be said or done to get him to change his mind about getting vaccinated at this point.

He hopes the hospital changes their requirement before it’s too late.

“It’s not supported enough for me to go ahead and back down and say okay, I can get this. It’s not the best health choice for me and that’s why I’m holding out,” Wilson said.

MUSC released this statement to Fox Carolina:

“MUSC Health’s transplant team wants to keep patients safe and achieve the best possible outcome from organ transplant. Patients awaiting or undergoing evaluation for organ transplant at MUSC Heath are now required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, with very few medical exceptions. We are communicating this requirement to all current/new/future patients who are involved in the transplant evaluation process.

MUSC Health is part of a growing number of transplant centers who are making this same requirement, due to the evidence of improving patient outcomes post-transplant for those who are vaccinated. Before declining transplant candidacy, every effort is being made to understand the rationale behind individual vaccine refusal and to reduce barriers or misinformation related to vaccine acceptance.

As part of the transplant process, we require many vaccinations and wellness exams to be completed (colonoscopy, mammograms, pap smears, etc), in addition to COVID-19 vaccines. All of these requirements are to assure a safe and successful post-transplant outcome.”

-Montez Seabrook, Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)

Wilson said he requested an exemption but the request was denied. He said he hasn’t found any other hospitals or facilities allowing transplants without vaccination.