Vaccination for people who need special arrangements
The NHS recommends that all adults receive the COVID-19 vaccine, save for those with specific contraindications. Some disabled people and people with health conditions will need special arrangements so that they can received the vaccine safely. For example, it may be necessary to provide the vaccine to the person in their own home; they may need a care plan around administering the vaccine if it is considered the person may experience distress as a result of it; and/or additional staff or medication may be required to administer the vaccination safely.
Where the person is likely to lack capacity to consent to medical treatment, a best interests decision will need to be taken in relation to the COVID-19 vaccination on the person’s behalf. There have been a number of legal cases (for example, Re A (Covid-19 vaccination)  EWCOP 47) in which the Court of Protection has determined that it is in a person’s best interests to receive a vaccine, including where some physical restraint and/or sedative medication was required to administer it. While any such plan would require medical input and careful consideration in a best interests decision-making process, it should not be assumed that it would be contrary to the person’s best interests to be vaccinated just because these sorts of adjustments would be required.
Victoria Butler-Cole QC, Arianna Kelly and Nyasha Weinberg, barristers at 39 Essex Chambers, have produced this template letter to assist in requesting special arrangements from GPs. An application to the Court of Protection is only likely to be required if there is a dispute as to the person’s best interests, or if measures were needed to administer the vaccine that might be so great that they constitute a deprivation of liberty. If these circumstances arise, it is advisable to seek legal advice. Rook Irwin Sweeney specialise in mental capacity law and medical treatment disputes, including applications to the Court of Protection– contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our team will respond to your enquiry.
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