Colorado hospital system won't give transplants to unvaccinated patients in nearly all cases: report
Vaccination (AFP)

A major hospital system in Colorado is now saying that it won't give transplants to any patients who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19.

CBS News reports that UCHealth this week said it's simply too risky to have unvaccinated patients undergo transplant operations, as they will be particularly vulnerable afterward if they happen to catch COVID-19.

"For transplant patients who contract COVID-19, the mortality rate ranges from about 20% to more than 30%," UCHealth explained in a statement to CBS. "This shows the extreme risk that COVID-19 poses to transplant recipients after their surgeries."

Leilani Lutali, a woman who needs to have a replacement kidney, told CBS News that she was caught off guard by the policy, which she said wasn't in effect even two months ago.

"At the end of August, they confirmed that there was no COVID shot needed at that time," Lutali said. "Fast forward to September 28. That's when I found out... they have this policy around the COVID shot for both for the donor and the recipient."

UCHealth says Lutali and her donors have 30 days to get vaccinated before they're removed from the hospital's transplant waiting list. The hospital system also notes that patients in the past have been required to receive hepatitis B and MMR vaccines ahead of surgeries.