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Last week a Canadian court ruled that a woman called Annette Lewis, who was diagnosed in 2018 with a chronic, progressive disease with no cure, could be removed from a transplant wait-list because she hasn’t received the COVID shot.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Paul Belzil dismissed Lewis’s claim that her charter rights had been violated. Belzil ruled the charter doesn’t have application to clinical treatment decisions and has no application to doctors establishing criteria for organ transplantation.


In 2020, Lewis was advised to get a series of vaccinations as her immunization history couldn’t be found. She agreed and received all the vaccines. Then, in March of 2021, she was told a COVID shot would be required to receive the transplant.

Lewis refused.

According to an affidavit filed with the court, Lewis said taking the vaccine would offend her conscience.

“I ought to have the choice about what goes into my body and a life-saving treatment cannot be denied to me because I chose not to take an experimental treatment for a condition — COVID-19 — which I do not have and which I may never have,” Lewis wrote.

Belzil said in his decision that he doesn’t accept that the beliefs of Lewis and her desire to protect her “bodily integrity” entitle her to impact the rights of other patients or the integrity of the transplant program generally.

“No one has a right to receive [organ] transplants and no one is forced to undergo transplantation surgery,” he wrote.

If Lewis’s application was successful, Belzil found it would have a significant negative public policy implication, be unfair to other patients and disrupt the transplant program, according to reports.

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