Covid Vaccination Restraint

Has anyone else had to consider that a service user, client, resident or even a person that they support might need restraint, even minor restraint, to be given a vaccination?

I’m fully aware of MCA and also most recent Court rulings - but has anyone created a BI decision and an actual restraint plan? What were attitudes like amongst professionals? Did anyone consider they might breach s6 limitations in MCA?

The person I work with has very complex LD and ASC. There seem to be so many opinions about no restraint at all - even if Covid has potential to kill and hospitalisation would be horrendous for a person with his needs.

In terms of proportionality - a two-person restraint might last 20/30 seconds, versus the potential in this vulnerable client group to kill, cause long term health problems or for a person with complex needs to be hospitalised. A slightly lesser risk might be needle stick and potential for vaccinator to assaulted.

Would total sedation be a proportionate response as less restrictive than the restraint for 20/30 seconds? It would require total anaesthetic so feels like restraint is less restrictive.

Would a blanket policy of no restraint at all leaving the person at risk be an acceptable stance?

Should the person be left unvaccinated, against Covid or anything else? Would this mean a dereliction of the duty to protect by carrying out a best interests decision under MCA? (Lack of capacity is not disputed.)

Is there a common law duty of care?

So many questions!!

Chris Wall

Hi Chris
I notice you have no replies yet and I wasn’t sure I have sufficient expertise on this to answer, but this case on MHLO a few days ago is relevant:

  • 11/04/21: Case (Coronavirus vaccination). NHS Tameside and Glossop CCG v CR [2021] EWCOP 19CR lacked capacity in relation to the coronavirus vaccination and it was not possible to determine his wishes and feelings. The Court of Protection decided it was in his best interests to have the vaccination, based on the orthodox view of its benefits, and rejecting family members’ objections. The relief sought by the CCG was granted, although physical intervention was not authorised.

I believe there is at least one other similar CoP ruling, and that Alex commented in one of his shedinars that vaccination is not essential treatment, and therefore whilst it might clearly be in their best interests, it would be difficult to justify restraint as being both necessary and a proportionate response. In such cases an application to CoP should be considered.
Hope that is of some help.

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Hi Chris / Ronnie

sorry to be very slow replying - I’ve only just got round to re-subscribing to this site after moving jobs.

since Ronnie’s comment we have seen on social media (though not yet a reported judgment) of a case of Hayden J deciding against vaccination, in a P’s best interests. And as you say, it is not regarded as serious medical treatment now, so cases are being dealt with at district judge or circuit judge level, and so (including the ones I have dealt with) unlikely to be reported.

always happy to have a chat if still helpful, after this delay…

all the best


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I think this is that case: SS v London Borough of Richmond upon Thames [2021] EWCOP 31.