Preparing someone with dementia for the COVID-19 vaccine

The roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine began in December (2020) and those who are most at risk are currently receiving it first.

COVID-19 vaccine

The top four priority groups include all those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals. It also includes frontline health and care workers and care home residents.

To find out if you’re eligible, read our blog post here.

If you are a carer of a loved-one or person with dementia, it’s important to ensure they are prepared and supported if they are called to receive the vaccine.

You can find Wales’ Coronavirus vaccination programme information here.

Giving consent

The person receiving the vaccine must give consent to do so. If they’re unable to give their consent, it must be obtained via a ‘best interest’ decision (which is compliant with the Mental Capacity Act 2005).

If you have Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for Health and Welfare for your loved-one with dementia, you can make these health decisions on their behalf. However, if you don’t have this, then healthcare professionals must make a decision in the person’s best interests.

Explain clearly

You can use short, simple sentences to explain the vaccine and why the person needs it.

Allow them time to digest the information and ask any questions.

Explain again if needed. You can always explain again another day if needed.

Before and on the day of the vaccine

If you can, speak to the healthcare provider and find out if you can accompany and support them.

If on the day the person with dementia shows distress or anxiety, see if you can rebook for another time.

On the day, ask the person administering the vaccine if they can introduce themselves to help make your loved-one feel more comfortable.

After the vaccine

After the vaccine is given, reassure the person that everything is fine. A happy, cheerful tone can help.

Offer a drink or snack afterwards and continue to check how they feel afterwards.

Dementia UK has lots of helpful answers to any other questions you might have, here.