• Mon. Mar 27th, 2023

Melbourne mother denied heart transplant due to vaccination status

ByGurinderbir Singh

Feb 13, 2023

A mother has been denied the opportunity to receive a heart transplant because she is not vaccinated for Covid-19, despite having a medical exemption.

Vicki Derderian, from Melbourne, relies on a ventricular assist device to keep her heart functioning after it failed in 2020, and is desperate for a transplant.

She did not receive the vaccine because she is concerned that doing so could increase her risk of heart conditions such as myocarditis or pericarditis which, although rare, can be serious.

Ms Derderian, a mother of two, expressed her frustration with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services for their stance, which she characterised as “no jab, no heart”.

“The hospital stance at the moment is no jab, no heart. I‘m ready to be on the heart transplant list because medically I’m stable to be on it. But unfortunately, because of these mandates, it has interfered with patient-doctor relationships,” she told Channel 9’s Today show.

“Patients like myself, we‘re being pushed into a corner and coerced to take something that goes against what we believe in. Or not receive lifesaving treatment. And also for doctors as well, they are forced to implement this on their patients otherwise they’ll lose their jobs.”

Former Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth expressed empathy for Ms Derderian‘s situation but stood by the rules.

He remained adamant the biggest risk to a patient is getting Covid-19 without being vaccinated, which could result in death and the loss of the transplanted organ.

“From a transplant physicians point of view… the biggest risk to you when we hit your immune system like that if you get Covid-19 without having the vaccine, then there‘s a really significant risk that you’ll die and that organ will die with you,” Dr Coatsworth said.

“And we don‘t want that to happen to you and we certainly don’t want it to happen to the family whose made that sacred donation. So it is such a complex area. I don’t envy your decision, but I do standby the rules of the transplant physicians have made here.”

The risk of post-vaccination myocarditis and pericarditis has been a hot topic among a number of medical professionals since the beginning of the jab rollout.

In August 2022, the TGA updated their vaccine fact sheet to include a disclaimer about the Pfizer and Moderna shots and their link to heart issues in young Australians.

The updated document published by the health authority showed the side-effect was unknown to the group until May 2021.

The vaccine was provisionally approved for use on January 25, 2021 – almost five months prior.

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