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Covid vaccines: Capacity to decide

As Covid vaccines are rolled-out, we look at a recent case from the court of protection about capacity to make decisions.

Covid Vaccination capacity to decide typography

Covid-19 has brought to light some interesting discussion points on capacity and a recent case has considered the issues of having the vaccine and capacity – E (Vaccine) [2021] EWCOP 7.

Covid vaccines are being rolled out at speed across the UK. In this case, mum was in a nursing home and her son objected to her having the Covid-19 vaccine – he was sceptical about it’s safety.

The GP confirmed that mum didn’t have capacity and as she didn’t have an Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place, the court of protection had to consider whether it was in her best interests to have the vaccine.

Part of this involves looking at her past wishes, feelings and beliefs – and actually she had always had the flu vaccine and in fact had a vaccine for swine flu in 2009.

Covid vaccines and the court of protection

In this case, the court decided that as she chose to vaccinate herself then, they believed she would choose it now. Plus as she was living in a country with one of the highest death rates in the world, was over 80 and living in a care home, they directed it was in her best interests to have the vaccine.

Whilst this is a good precedent, it is better to plan for a future and choose someone to have legal authority to make health decisions for you through a health power of attorney.

Putting a health LPA in place now is so simple – choose your attorneys wisely and set out your wishes in a letter of wishes. Were you to lose capacity, you would have your intentions clearly documented for your peace of mind. If you, or someone you know, needs help putting an LPA (for health or finances), or a deputyship, in place, we can help. Contact our private client team, who will be happy to advise.

This article was written by Katherine Carroll

Please note the contents contained in this article are for general guidance only and reflection the position at time of posting. Legal advice should be sought before taking action in relation to specific matters.

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