Judge concludes man with learning disability ‘should have Covid jab despite sister’s concern’

A man in his 60s with a learning disability should have a Covid-19 vaccination despite objections from a relative, a judge has ruled.

Mr Justice Poole has concluded that vaccination is in the man’s best interests after analysing evidence at a recent hearing in the Court of Protection, where judges consider issues about people who might lack the mental capacity to take decisions for themselves, in Leeds.

He said in the “great majority” of cases it was in the interests of a patient at the centre of Court of Protections to be vaccinated in accordance with public health guidelines.

The judge has outlined details of the case in a ruling, published online, after lawyers representing the North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group, which has responsibility for the man’s care, asked him to consider the case.

He said the man could not be identified in media reports of the case.

Mr Justice Poole heard that the man had brain damage and was told that the damage appeared to have followed the administration of a childhood Whooping cough vaccine.

The man’s sister was against vaccination and suggested a Covid vaccine might result in “catastrophic consequences” for a second time.

She argued that the use of vitamins, minerals and pro-biotics could prevent the more harmful effects of Covid.

But lawyers representing the commissioning group asked the judge to rule that vaccination was in the man’s best interests.

A GP said the man had an annual flu vaccination.

The judge was also told that staff at the care home where the man lived were in favour of a Covid vaccination.

Mr Justice Poole said: “Balancing all the circumstances I have come to the firm conclusion that it is in [the man’s] best interests to be administered the Covid-19 vaccine.”

He added: “There may be exceptional cases where a patient’s condition, history or other characteristics mean that vaccination would be medically contraindicated in their case, but in the great majority of cases it will be in the medical or health interests of a patient to be vaccinated in accordance with public health guidelines.”

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