Kidney transplantation and patients who decline SARS-CoV-2 vaccination: an ethical framework

Refik Gökmen*, Antonia Cronin, Wendy Brown, Stephen Cass, Abbas Ghazanfar, Mohammad Ayaz Hossain, Jenny Johnson, Trish Longdon, Sue Lyon, Adam McLean, Reza Motallebzadeh, Joyce Popoola, Ayo Samuel, Raj Thuraisingham, Angela Jane Wood, Frank J.M.F. Dor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


As SARS-CoV-2 vaccines have started to be rolled out, a key question facing transplant units has been whether listing for transplantation should be contingent on recipients having received a vaccine. We aimed to provide an ethical framework when considering potential transplant candidates who decline vaccination. We convened a working group comprising transplant professionals, lay members and patients and undertook a literature review and consensus process. This group's work was also informed by discussions in two hospital clinical ethics committees. We have reviewed arguments for and against mandating vaccination prior to listing for kidney transplantation and considered some practical difficulties which may be associated with a policy of mandated vaccination. Rather than requiring that all patients must receive the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine prior to transplant listing, we recommend considering vaccination status as one of a number of SARS-CoV-2-related risk factors in relation to transplant listing. Transplant units should engage in individualised risk–benefit discussions with patients, avoid the language of mandated treatments and strongly encourage uptake of the vaccine in all patient groups, using tailor-made educational initiatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1770-1775
Number of pages6
JournalTransplant International
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • economics
  • economics
  • ethics
  • ethics
  • ethics < quality of life
  • legal aspects < quality of life
  • other < kidney clinical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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