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Vaccination for people who cannot give consent

Publication date: 14 Feb, 2022

The Mental Welfare Commission today published guidance for health and care professionals on how to address a situation when a person is unable to give consent for vaccination.

Dr Arun Chopra, medical director at the Mental Welfare Commission, said:

“The guidance is a response to an increase in calls to our advice line from health and care professionals who are seeking advice on vaccinations for people who are not able to provide consent due to a mental health condition or learning disability.
“Our concern is that people who are unable to consent to the vaccine should not be disadvantaged because of any uncertainty about how to proceed in these situations. 
“Today’s position statement discusses the issues that should be considered to protect the individual’s health, and the importance of taking account of the person’s wishes and feelings, and consulting with relatives and relevant others.”


At an early stage of the pandemic (April 2020) the Commission set out its duties and how it intended to respond to the pandemic in a position statement. As part of that response the Commission undertook, and regularly revised, a guidance note covering its responses to common and serious issues it was asked for a view on - version 24 was published in March 2021. 

In entering a different phase of the pandemic, rather than frequently update the Covid-19 advice note when receiving an increase in calls on an area, the Commission will publish specific statements to restate, clarify or update existing guidance.