The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms’ lawyer representing an unvaccinated woman who’s been denied an organ transplant is demanding Alberta Health Services (AHS) overturn its decision after patient Sheila Annette Lewis proved she has natural immunity.
Lewis is dying of a terminal illness. She was removed from the top of the organ donor transplant list after refusing to be vaccinated against Covid-19. She has been challenging the constitutionality of Covid-19 vaccine requirements for transplant candidates put in place by AHS, an Alberta Hospital, and six transplant doctors for more than a year.
Her counsel is now demanding that health officials accept her newly established natural immunity to Covid-19 as an alternative to vaccination and reinstate Lewis to the high-priority transplant waitlist by April 21.
“There is no principled medical or scientific reason to continue to deny Ms. Lewis a life-saving organ transplant,” legal counsel Allison Pejovic said in a statement.
“She is protected from Covid-19 as she has had it twice. The refusal to accept Ms. Lewis’s natural immunity as an alternative to Covid-19 vaccination and give her life-saving surgery is indefensible and a disgrace.”
On March 29, Lewis provided her Alberta Transplant Program doctors with a privately funded medical report, known as the Kinexus Report, establishing her natural immunity to Covid-19.
On April 3, one of the transplant physicians informed Lewis that nothing had changed and she would still need to receive the Covid-19 vaccines ahead of an organ transplant.
The organ Lewis requires and her doctors’ names are under a publication ban.
In August 2022, the US Centre for Disease Control announced that while Covid-19 vaccines have reduced mortality and hospitalizations due to Covid-19 in the US, so has natural immunity to Covid-19.
A February 2023 study from The Lancet demonstrates that natural immunity cut the risk of hospitalization and death from a Covid reinfection by 88% for at least 10 months, and the immunity generated from an infection was found to be “at least as high, if not higher” than that provided by two doses of an mRNA vaccine.
Lewis was unsuccessful at both the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench and the Alberta Court of Appeal in 2022, with both levels of court finding that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not apply to the Covid-19 vaccine policies of AHS, the Alberta Hospital where she would receive her transplant, or her transplant doctors. Both courts also dismissed her claims under The Alberta Bill of Rights.
In a November ruling, the appeal court acknowledged it’s a “virtual certainty” Lewis will die without an organ transplant.
In January, Lewis filed a court application asking the Supreme Court of Canada to hear her case against Alberta Health Services.