Informed Consent in Mass Vaccination against COVID-19 in Romania: Implications of Bad Management

Informed Consent in Mass Vaccination against COVID-19 in Romania: Implications of Bad Management
Sînziana-Elena Bîrsanu, Maria Cristina Plaiasu, Codrut Andrei Nanu
Vaccines, 5 November 2022; 10(11)
Abstract
Informing patients and obtaining valid informed consent were significant challenges for the COVID-19 immunization program. In Romania, the authorities issued a strategy for activities regarding vaccination against COVID-19, including the informed consent procedure. The lack of legal preparedness was evident when the medical personnel at the vaccination centers were provided with informed consent forms that did not respect the existing legal requirements. In addition, the protocol for persons seeking vaccination stated that the patient was supposed to receive the informed consent form from the receptionist in order to read and sign it. We analyzed the legal implications and the malpractice litigation risk associated with this practice. Due to essential deficiencies and in the absence of an official enactment of new regulations, we conclude that the vaccination consent process did not comply with the legal requirements. Implications include medical personnel’s legal liability, loss of malpractice insurance coverage, and public mistrust that may have contributed to a low vaccination rate. Given the potential of future pandemics or other health crises, this may be a valuable lesson for developing better legal strategies.

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