Lee wins first battle in fight for vaccine priority

AN ENNISKILLEN man with a rare genetic disorder has won High Court permission to challenge the Department of Health and the Western Trust over their prioritisation of the vaccination programme.
In January this year, the Herald reported how Lee Martin resorted to legal action in an attempt to be fast-tracked for a Covid-19 vaccine.
His lawyers argued he was facing discrimination due to the programme’s priority scheme which left him fearing he would contract the virus and die.
Lee is the only person in Northern Ireland and less than 100 people worldwide to be diagnosed with diploid triploid mosaicism (DSM).
“He is a six foot two inches stature squashed into a four foot five inches frame,” his mother Caroline Wheeler explained, “All his organs are compressed. Doctors don’t know how he even manages to stand up.”
During the pandemic, he was classified as extremely vulnerable and put in category four on a priority list under the Department of Health’s Covid-19 vaccination programme.
That placed him below some healthcare staff but also went against the guidance of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), it was alleged.
Lee and his solicitors, KR Law, issued legal proceedings at the beginning of the year against the Department and the Western Health Trust in a bid to have him fast-tracked for the vaccine.
Further grounds of challenge involve claims of irrationality and breach of human rights.
The 36-year-old had already received his vaccine before his court case came round earlier this month so counsel for the Department argued his challenge was rendered academic.

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