Utah Kidney Transplant Patient Grateful For Vaccine

Mar 13, 2021, 3:16 PM | Updated: 3:17 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, UtahWhile all adults will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in just a few weeks, experts said there is a reason those with underlying health conditions have been given priority. One Utah kidney transplant recipient shared why he was grateful he was able to get the shot.

Greg Boss of Holladay is considered high risk. He’s been married to his sweetheart for 25 years. Just after they returned from their honeymoon, Boss started to feel ill.

He said his life changed in 2001 when he underwent a kidney transplant at just 34 years old.

“April 12, I can remember the day. It snowed,” he said. “My wife’s little brother donated one of his kidneys to me, and we celebrate 20 years, next month.”

Kidney disease runs in his family.

“We’re still fighting that fight and trying to make it last as long as possible,” Boss said.

Boss is a father to three children and has largely enjoyed good health until December of 2019 when he ended up in the hospital again for six weeks after having heart surgery.

“I had a quadruple bypass and the valve repaired,” he said.

He felt grateful just to be alive.

“(I) got out of the hospital and went kind of right into the pandemic,” he said.

The whole Boss family has taken great precautions to protect him from getting COVID-19.

“They don’t want to be the ones that bring something home to dad, and so that’s why they’ve had to sacrifice quite a bit to keep me safe,” Boss said. “It was a challenge and we had to come together as a family and as a community to really help each other out.”

Boss said he was so excited to get the vaccine after he qualified with his underlying medical conditions. He said it was a surreal moment.

“Now, all of a sudden, we have a vaccine a year later and I have that much more of a fighting chance against it,” he said.

Intermountain Healthcare’s Dr. Tamara Sheffield, medical director of community health and prevention, said the state has given priority to people like Boss for a reason.

“But then there are other health care conditions that put individuals at a high risk for death, and so that’s why we’ve moved through those that are highest risk and then keep progressing down to others,” she explained.

Sheffield said the state has been following research and recommendations provided by the CDC.

“As we get more supply in, the easier it is for us to match those recommendations,” she said, which now includes those with diabetes, kidney disease, and a BMI of 30 or higher.

As the vaccine soon becomes more widely available, she urged all Utahns to get the shot.

“We need these vaccines to protect ourselves, but when you protect yourself, you protect other people as well,” Sheffield said. “I will tell you that even people who are healthy and strong have had some serious complications. So it is important for you personally, but it’s also for that individual in your neighborhood, or your friend or your friend’s mother who may be at risk.”

Sheffield said the COVID-19 vaccine is a sign of hope for changes in the community, adding that the greatest gift of vaccination is peace of mind.

“You don’t have to worry so much about eliciting yourself or spreading illness to those that you love,” she said.

Boss said he feels blessed to be healthy for his wife and three kids.

“I can’t live life in fear, right? I just got to do the best I can every day and try to make a difference in somebody else’s life,” he said. “There’s a reason I’m here and I’m doing everything I can to make the best of it.”

While research is still underway, Sheffield said experts anticipate about 70% to 90% of Utahns will need to be vaccinated in order to slow down transmission of COVID-19.

Sheffield encouraged those who have struggled to get a vaccination appointment to be patient.

“Don’t worry, we are going to be getting much more vaccine week after week and you will easily, within a fairly short period of time, be able to have access. Just be patient and persistent,” she said.

Intermountain Healthcare is a leading partner with the state in vaccine distribution. To sign up for an appointment, Utahns can also visit

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Your Life Your Health

New mom Michelle Jackson had problems breastfeeding little Jason so she called a lactation consulta...
Ayanna Likens

Some moms struggle with breastfeeding, here are some helpful tips

August is breastfeeding awareness month, and for some mothers who want to breastfeed, it doesn’t come easy. Intermountain Healthcare shares some tips on how to help.
4 days ago
Ayanna Likens

Three healthy back-to-school lunches using the same ingredients

Chef Christopher Delissio with Intermountain shares three healthy lunches to put in your kid’s school lunch box, all using the same ingredients.
10 days ago
Dr. Randa Tao is the lead researcher on the study at the Huntsman Cancer Institute....
Jed Boal

Researchers find patients with specific cancer at higher risk for mental health issues

New research out of Huntsman Cancer Institute reveals that Hodgkin lymphoma patients and survivors are more likely to suffer from mental health and substance abuse disorders than the general population.
12 days ago
5-year-old Elodie gets immunized before she begins kindergarten. (KSL TV)...
Ayanna Likens

Utah doctor talks about how important vaccinations are for kids heading back to school

School is just around the corner and if you have kids entering kindergarten or seventh grade, that means it’s time to get them immunized.
18 days ago
Hillary Ramone's son Parker stops for a water break while at the park....
Ayanna Likens

Proper hydration is about more than just drinking water

Intermountain doctors share tips on how to keep you and your kids hydrated in Utah’s high heat.
24 days ago
When the UV Index is seven or higher you are at a higher risk for skin cancer. Use sunscreen or con...
Ayanna Likens

Staying safe in the sun: Don’t forget to check the UV Index

Utah has the highest rate of melanoma in the nation with 42 cases per 100,000 people, double the national average. That’s why doctors at Intermountain Medical Center said you need to protect yourself when headed outside.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
Utah Kidney Transplant Patient Grateful For Vaccine