A court in Galicia, Spain sided with a nursing home to require an incapacitated women to get the Covid vaccine over her families objections. Even though the Spanish government has maintained that the novel vaccine would be voluntary, the nursing home effectively took custody of the woman, who suffered from dementia, and vaccinated her without the informed consent of her family.
The woman was deemed, “incapacitated to provide valid consent,” according to the nursing home. Judge Javier Fraga Mandian stated that the court had a legal obligation to intervene and override the family’s wishes in order to protect the woman’s health and that his decision was not based on the welfare of other residents. He stated that his decision was based on what he determined was irrefutable evidence that not receiving the vaccine would be riskier than the side effects of the vaccine due to the alleged “tens of thousands of deaths” from coronavirus in Spain.
The company running the nursing home, DomusVi, claimed that 98 percent of the 15,000 residents in all of the nursing homes it manages agreed to get the novel vaccine and the two percent, who chose to not get the shots, were capable of making their own decision.
Domus Vi said it went to court to force vaccination of the woman in this case because of concerns about the health of other residents and health care workers in the nursing home.
Another court in Seville, Spain was faced with a similar legal issue a short time later when a nursing home wanted to force a severely incapacitated 87-year-old resident to get the COVID-19 vaccine contrary to her son’s wishes. Siding with the nursing home, the judge said that protecting the public health outweighed her son’s objection to the vaccination.
In another case, a prosecutor in southern Spain said that any family member acting as a legal guardian for an incapacitated resident in a nursing home would run the risk of losing the guardianship should they not agree to vaccination.
COVID-19 vaccines have not been tested to determine whether they prevent transmission of the new coronavirus. Officials at the World Health Organization (WHO) have stated that it is not clear whether COVID-19 vaccines can prevent infection and transmission. WHO chief scientist and pediatrician Soumya Swaminathan, MD said –
“We continue to wait for more results from the vaccine trials to really understand whether the vaccines, apart from preventing symptomatic disease and severe disease and deaths, whether they’re also going to reduce infection or prevent people from getting infected with the virus, then from passing it on or transmitting it to other people. I don’t believe we have the evidence on any of the vaccines to be confident that it’s going to prevent people from actually getting the infection and therefore being able to pass it on.”
Despite the lack of evidence that the vaccine prevents infection and transmission of the coronavirus, Spain has made vaccinating nursing home residents a priority since the vaccine was approved in December 2020.
The rush to vaccinate residents in nursing homes has been met with mass outbreaks of COVID-19 among nursing home staff and residents following vaccination campaigns. All but one resident in a nursing home in Lagarta, Spain came down with COVID-19 after the staff and residents received their first shot of the vaccine. Within six days of the mass vaccination program, 10 residents had symptoms of COVID-19 and the outbreak led to nine deaths. The second dose of the vaccine was given on Feb. 3. The general director of the company, who runs the nursing home, said that he didn’t think the outbreak was caused by the vaccine and said “the sooner everyone receives their vaccine, the better,”.
Another major COVID-19 outbreak occurred in a nursing home in Torrevieja, Spain where all of the 42 workers and residents tested positive for coronavirus a week after they were given the first dose of the vaccine.
What happened to informed consent?
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