Exploring the ethical complexity of pediatric organ transplant candidates and COVID-19 vaccination: Tensions between autonomy and beneficence, children and parents

Libia Lara Carrion*, Katrina A. Bramstedt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Background: POT is emotionally sensitive due to cohort vulnerability, their lack of decisional capacity, and waitlist mortality. The COVID-19 pandemic has added complexity to the setting of pediatric transplantation, as well as living donation, due to tensions about COVID-19 vaccination for recipients, donors, and parent-caregivers. Methods: In the context of COVID-19 vaccination, two ethicists present four pediatric donation and transplant dilemmas for ethical exploration and offer guidance to clinical teams, noting that mandates are controversial, and there is no global harmonization regarding requirements. Results: As with all vaccinations, they are a tool of organ stewardship aimed to optimize outcomes and, in the setting of pediatrics, ensure optimal caregiving for these vulnerable recipients. Current evidence supports the ethical permissibility of COVID-19 vaccination mandates for transplant candidates aged 6 months and older. Conclusion: Our guidance considers the tensions of autonomy and beneficence and the ethical duty of organ stewardship. The harms of being unvaccinated and risking the harms of COVID-19 and long-COVID post-transplant support the ethical permissibility of vaccination mandates in countries where the vaccine has pediatric regulatory approval.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14408
JournalPediatric Transplantation
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Oct 2022

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