Considering a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for pediatric kidney transplant candidates

Pediatr Nephrol. 2022 Nov;37(11):2559-2569. doi: 10.1007/s00467-022-05511-7. Epub 2022 Mar 25.


The world continues to face the effects of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective in protecting recipients, decreasing the risk of COVID-19 acquisition, transmission, hospitalization, and death. Transplant recipients may be at greater risk for severe SARS-CoV-2 infection. As a result, transplant programs have begun instituting mandates for COVID-19 vaccine for transplant candidacy. While the question of mandating COVID-19 vaccine for adult transplant candidates has garnered attention in the lay and academic press, these discussions have not explicitly addressed children who may be otherwise eligible for kidney transplants. In this paper we seek to examine the potential ethical justifications of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for pediatric kidney transplant candidacy through an examination of relevant ethical principles, analogous cases of the use of mandates, differences between adult and pediatric kidney transplant candidates, and the role of gatekeeping in transplant vaccine mandates. At present, it does not appear that pediatric kidney transplant centers are justified to institute a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for candidates. Finally, we will offer suggestions to be considered prior to the implementation of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Keywords: COVID-19 vaccination; Children; Ethics; Kidney transplantation; Mandate.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19 Vaccines* / administration & dosage
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Mandatory Programs / ethics
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Transplant Recipients*
  • Vaccination* / ethics


  • COVID-19 Vaccines