Fermanagh man with rare genetic disorder to take legal action in a bid to be fast-tracked for Covid vaccine
A Co Fermanagh man with a rare genetic disorder is set to take legal action in a bid to be fast-tracked for a Covid vaccine.
Lawyers for Lee Martin (36) claim he is facing discrimination due to a vaccination priority scheme which has left him fearing he will contract the virus and die.
Proceedings are being planned against the Department of Health in a challenge to the lawfulness of the phased plan.
Mr Martin, from Enniskillen, is one of less than 100 people worldwide diagnosed with diploid triploid mosaicism (DSM).
His condition, which occurs when someone has two different types of cells with different numbers of chromosomes, means he requires 24-hour care.
With Mr Martin's health described as rapidly deteriorating, legal firm KRW Law said his family have been informed he is now at a palliative stage following an incidence of respiratory failure.
His mother has already received the vaccine as a home carer.
According to Mr Martin's lawyers he has been classified as extremely vulnerable and put in category four on a priority list under the Department of Health's Covid-19 Vaccination Programme Phased Plan.
He has been placed below backroom healthcare staff against the Guidance of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), it was claimed.
Pre-action correspondence has now been sent to health minister Robin Swann, setting out an intention to mount an urgent legal challenge at the High Court in Belfast.
The letter makes clear that Mr Martin's family are "fully supportive of the national effort to meet the exceptional challenges posed by the pandemic".
But contending that the department's plan is unlawful, the correspondence states: "It remains the position that our client has not been vaccinated. This creates a real and immediate risk to his life/health."
Christopher Doran of KRW Law confirmed the first step towards a judicial review into claims the plan is irrational, discriminatory, lacks transparency and fails to adopt key aspects of the JCVI guidance.
Mr Doran said: "The plan has failed Lee, breached his human rights and ultimately threatens his right to life.
"Key aspects of the plan impede rather than advance the pandemic response."