The NHS has published an SOP for COVID-19 vaccine deployment in community settings outlining the process for making best interests decisions.
People without capacity, if they are aged 16 or over, are protected by the empowering, decision-making framework set out under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA).
The principles of best interests decision making under the MCA are the same for the COVID-19 vaccination:
- Health care professionals offering the vaccine to someone who may lack the mental capacity to consent should take all practicable steps to support the person to make the decision for themselves.
- Where it has been established that the person lacks capacity to consent, a best interests decision should be taken in line with best interest checklist in section 4 of the MCA. This means that the decision-maker must consider all the relevant circumstances, including the person’s wishes, beliefs and values, the views of their family where appropriate and what the person would have wanted if they had the capacity to make the decision themselves.
Relevant consent forms, other supporting forms and associated information can be found online.
Further important guidance on consent and mental capacity for care home
residents and staff can be found in Appendix D of the SOP.
View our exclusive online feature on COVID-19 vaccine deployment in care homes in practice.