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Rapid response to:

Practice Practice Pointer

Covid-19 vaccination hesitancy

BMJ 2021; 373 doi: (Published 20 May 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;373:n1138

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Rapid Response:

Re: Covid-19 vaccination hesitancy conversations : resisting the "righting reflex".

Dear Editor

Graham P. Easton, Professor of Clinical Communication Skills, cites three references from 2010 and earlier, to support the use of a motivational interviewing technique, when dealing with vaccine hesitancy.
UK law, with respect to informed consent to any procedure, was made clearer by the Supreme Court’s judgement in the Montgomery case, 2015. (1)

The BMJ’s medical ethicist, Daniel Sokol, pointed out some of the implications for clinical practice, and foresaw possible divergent views.
“Other readers will hold the view that consent is a myth invented by lawyers and ethicists and may ask, “How do we find the time to get such consent?” The court’s answer is that the law must impose some obligations “so that even those doctors who have less skill or inclination for communication, or who are more hurried, are obliged to pause and engage in the discussion which the law requires.” (2)

In subsequent years there have been many attempts to draw attention to the need to respect the right of people to be given comprehensive information before they can give valid consent to vaccination. (3,4)

Will Professor Easton explain how the motivational interviewing technique is consistent with the Supreme Court’s judgement, when seeking informed consent ?

Concerning current mass vaccination clinics, how relevant is Sokol’s question, above, “ How do we find the time to get such consent ?”
Is UK law being respected, particularly in the present circumstances ?

Competing interests: No competing interests

10 June 2021
Noel Thomas
retired/part time doc
Bronygarn, Maesteg, Wales ,CF34 9AL