Elderly woman with dementia will be given vaccine against wishes of her son

By Owen Sheppard, local democracy reporter

An elderly woman with severe dementia will be given a Covid-19 vaccine, despite her inability to give consent and her son insisting she should not receive a jab.

Court documents reveal the highly emotive and unusual case concerning the 80-year-old from London, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

Mr Justice Hayden ruled that the woman, Mrs E, should receive a Covid vaccine “as soon as practically possible” due to the “risk of death” if she contracted the virus.

He also ruled: “It is a fact that Mrs E lives in a country which has one of the highest death rates per capita, due to Covid-19, in the world.

“By virtue of her vulnerabilities, the prospects for her if she contracts the virus are not propitious; it is a risk of death…

“Vaccination reduces that risk dramatically and I have no hesitation in concluding that it is in her best interests to receive it.”

Mrs E suffers from dementia and schizophrenia. Her doctors determined that she “does not have the capacity to determine whether she should receive the Covid-19 vaccine offered to her.”

The issue came to the Court of Protection on January 20 because her lawyers, who represent her on questions regarding how she could be cared for, disagreed with her son on whether she should receive the vaccine.

Mrs E was offered an inoculation in early January but her son, who also cannot be named, objected to it.

The report says her son was “deeply sceptical” about the efficacy of the vaccine; “the speed at which it was authorised” and whether it has been adequately tested “on the cohort to which his mother belongs”.

In mid January, Mrs E was asked by her GP if she remembered “that there was a dangerous sickness called coronavirus”, to which she replied that she did not.

The report continues: “[Her doctor] asked her whether she remembered an earlier visit made by [doctors] when they came… to deliver injections to protect her against the virus. Mrs E did not reply.

“[a doctor] asked Mrs E whether she wanted the injection, to which Mrs E replied: ‘Whatever is best for me. What do I have to do?’”

Judge Hayden also said Mrs E “cannot retain information long enough to use it to make a decision [about getting a Covid vaccine]. This is because of her dementia”.

However, he determined that Mrs E’s statement – that she was happy for doctors to do “whatever is best for me” – demonstrated that she trusted her doctors.

She had also consented to having vaccinations for swine flu and influenza in previous years.

“I consider the fact that, when she had capacity, Mrs E chose to be vaccinated in line with public health advice, to be relevant to my assessment of what she would choose in relation to receiving the Covid-19 vaccine today,” the judge said.

He arrived at his decision, despite hearing the son’s “heartfelt submission”, because he took the view that “he did not object to the vaccination in principle: he just did not consider that now was the right time for his mother to receive it.”

This was despite the son’s belief that there was a “speedy authorisation of the Covid-19 vaccines which he says undermine their reliability”.

Summarising his ruling, Judge Hayden said: “Accordingly, I make the declaration, sought by Mrs E’s representatives…

“I consider that Mrs E should receive the vaccine as soon as practically possible. I have delivered an ex tempore judgment [a judgement which is handed down straight after a hearing] on this application in order to avoid any further delay.”


Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.

Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing:


If you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can make a donation which will allow us to continue to bring stories to you, both in print and online. Or please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.