February 21, 2021

New Canaan double-transplant recipient urges governor to boost eligibility of high-risk residents

New Canaan double-transplant recipient urges governor to boost eligibility of high-risk residents

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A
New Canaan woman who received two organ transplants is urging Gov. Ned Lamont
to let Connecticut join other states in allowing high-risk patients to get
COVID-19 vaccines sooner rather than later.

Jen Benson runs a nonprofit called the Transplant Journey,
Inc. She says the organization aims to help people who face the steep climb of
getting an organ transplant.

Benson herself is a double organ transplant recipient, having
received a pancreas and kidney. She says her transplants have forced her onto
immuno-suppressant drugs.

Benson says those drugs put her at risk of catching COVID-19.

In other states like New York, the comorbidity that affects her life would at
least put her ahead of the vaccination line. But in Connecticut, as
double-transplant recipient, she must wait to get vaccinated.

“I don’t want to die from this pandemic,” Benson
says. “I created this organization to help other people live, and now I’m
high risk because I don’t have access to the vaccine.”

Under Gov. Lamont’s order, only people 65 and older or those whose profession
gives them priority status, can currently get the vaccine.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal says he’s pushing to get the state
more vaccines. He says this could prompt the governor to include people with
comorbidities, like Benson.

“Jen Benson needs and deserves a vaccine as soon as
possible,” Blumenthal says. “That’s why we’re trying to speed the
vaccine through the American Rescue Plan, so that everybody, including Jen
Benson, has access to this life-saving medicine.”

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