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Consent process for COVID-19 booster vaccinations

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Relatives and carers of people who cannot give informed consent for their Covid-19 booster vaccination are reminded that a ‘best interest’ declaration from their GP will be needed before a top-up jab can be given.

Consent for someone’s vaccination cannot be given by another person, including a close family member. People are asked not to attempt to sign for a relative on the day of vaccination.

The route for those who lack capacity to make their own decisions is the same for the current booster rollout as it was for the main Covid vaccination programme.

An individual is deemed to have capacity when they can understand, retain and use the information given to them - in this instance, information about having a vaccine - and communicate their answer. If that is not possible, a decision must be made on their behalf, usually by their GP as to whether having the vaccine is in their best interest.

In this process, the GP will assess the individual and try to understand what their wishes would be if they could give consent, by talking to those who know and love them best, and by looking at previous decisions the person made, for instance if they had vaccinations against flu or other diseases in the past.

If the doctor decides that it is in the person’s best interests to have the COVID-19 booster, he or she will give consent for that person - an important decision which is formally documented and held on the person’s record.

The reminder about giving consent will be included in appointment letters still to be sent out, to older adults and those who are eligible for a booster because they are clinically vulnerable.

Health and Social Care Minister David Ashford said:

’The issue of consenting to a vaccine for those who cannot make the decision themselves, was highlighted during the initial vaccination rollout. As a rule, if people needed a GP to provide a best interest decision for the first two doses of vaccine, they will need to do this again for the booster. It’s a straightforward process which requires a call to the GP to arrange for the form to be signed. If a loved one is in this situation, please act now to ensure the consent is in place before they attend their vaccination appointment – as we don’t want to turn anyone away.

He added:

‘Boosters will protect older adults and the most vulnerable people in our community by boosting their immunity to serious illness caused by COVID-19, which is still circulating in the Island. Taking steps to avoid needing to go into hospital will protect our health and care services at the busiest time of year – so when invited for a booster, please don’t forget to attend!’