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Akron woman and twin sister refuse to take COVID-19 vaccine to receive life-saving transplant

Lucille says she has an autoimmune disorder that will certainly trigger a bad reaction with the COVID shot.

CLEVELAND — An Akron woman needs a life saving kidney transplant but one issue stands in the way of Cleveland Clinic doctors being able to perform the surgery, a COVID vaccination.

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Lucille Johnson needs a kidney transplant. She has lupus and the disease has attached itself to the kidneys and her twin sister Lillian Mitchell is a perfect match. However the story takes a complicated turn, both refuse to get the COVID vaccine that is required for Cleveland Clinic surgeons to perform a life-saving kidney transplant.

Lucille says she has an autoimmune disorder that will certainly trigger a bad reaction with the COVID shot.

"We are completely opposed to it. I have not taken it and she isn't going to take it. If I get the shot I am going to lose my life for sure. My kidneys are failing the filtration itself will not tolerate that vaccine."

The twins have hired an attorney, Warner Mendenhall who says, "This is discrimination under the Americans with disabilities act this is damaging a major life activity the major life activity is taking care of her own life."

The Cleveland Clinic disagrees saying, "For the living donor, reducing the risk of a COVID-19 infection around the time of their surgery and recovery is crucial. Individuals who are actively infected with COVID-19 have a much higher rate of complications during and after surgery."

They add:

"For the transplant candidate, in addition to a major operation, medications taken after an organ transplant weaken a person's immune response. Serious complications of COVID-19 are most likely to develop in those individuals who have weakened immune systems. The FDA-authorized vaccines have been determined to be safe and effective and are the best way to prevent severe illness and death from COVID-19, especially when administered prior to transplantation.   "

Time is quickly running out for Lucille says Lillian, "We are now at the end of the road my sister's function is only at 7 percent."

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