This is another case where the Court of Protection had to step in to make a best interests decision on behalf of the Protected Party, DC, as to whether or not he should receive the Covid-19 vaccination.
DC is a young man who suffers from schizencephaly, microcephaly and cerebral palsy. He further suffers from epilepsy, curvature of the spine, dystonia, and intermittent stridor and pseudomonas of the lungs. DC lives in residential care and this would ultimately become an important consideration when it came to balancing DC’s best interests.
DC lacks capacity and is unable to communicate verbally. DC’s parents are opposed to DC having the vaccine. There had been many steps taken to try and reach an agreement between the interested parties regarding the decision to be made. Burrows J set out his concerns at the delays that there had been in bringing the application before the Court in light of the highly vulnerable nature of DC.
Ultimately, Burrows J decided ‘on fine balance’ that it would be in P’s best interests to receive the vaccination. He had considered that DC’s parents had a genuine concern for DC’s health as a result of having the vaccination instead of a purely ideological objection to the vaccine. Burrows J considered the views of DC’s parents when considering making the decision given that DC has never been in a position to express any opinions or wishes from which the Court could extrapolate.
Burrows J considered the risk of the vaccine and the risk of DC contracting Covid-19 and how that could be potentially devasting to DC in light of his vulnerable health. Another reason why Burrows J ultimately decided it was in DC’s best interests to have the vaccine was because of his residential care accommodation. At the time DC was the only patient who had not been vaccinated. As such, this meant that DC was unable to attend outdoor events and has been required to isolate for up to 10 days after home visits. This was an important aspect and Burrows J considered that the vaccine would afford DC a far greater quality of life, even taking into account the risks associated with taking the vaccine.
The full judgement can be read here
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