Boston father denied heart transplant due to COVID vaccine status

"I think my boy is fighting pretty damn courageously and he has integrity and principles he really believes in and that makes me respect him all the more," Ferguson's father said.

Updated: January 25, 2022 - 4:29pm

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A 31-year-old father has been taken off the heart transplant list at a Boston hospital because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19.

DJ Ferguson's family told CBS Boston that he is in desperate need of a transplant, and he was at the front of the line. According to Brigham and Women’s Hospital policy, patients who are not vaccinated against COVID are ineligible for an organ transplant.

Ferguson, a father of two with another on the way, remains at the Boston hospital as his family determines what to do next. 

"We are aggressively pursuing all options, but we are running out of time," David Ferguson, DJ's father, told CBS Boston. "My son has gone to the edge of death to stick to his guns and he’s been pushed to the limit."

Bringham and Women's Hospital released a statement to the outlet: "​​And like many other transplant programs in the United States – the COVID-19 vaccine is one of several vaccines and lifestyle behaviors required for transplant candidates in the Mass General Brigham system in order to create both the best chance for a successful operation and also the patient’s survival after transplantation."

His family remains by his side, but DJ may be too weak to move to another hospital. 

"I think my boy is fighting pretty damn courageously and he has integrity and principles he really believes in and that makes me respect him all the more," David Ferguson said.

"It’s kind of against his basic principles; he doesn’t believe in it. It’s a policy they are enforcing and so because he won’t get the shot, they took him off the list of a heart transplant," he told CBS Boston. "It's his body. It's his choice."