With everything going on in the world right now, we thought this would be an excellent opportunity to bring up the first Principle of our Code of Ethics:
Principle I – Respect for Persons
To value the dignity and worth of all persons regardless of age, race, culture, creed, sexual identity, gender, ability and/or health status
Application: Client autonomy is demonstrated by:
a) Ensuring that clients are as fully involved as possible in the planning and implementation of their own health care
b) Providing complete and accurate information in a sensitive and timely fashion to enable clients, or when necessary a client’s substitute decision maker, to make informed choices
c) Listening to and respecting a client’s values, opinions, needs, and cultural beliefs
d) Encouraging and being responsive to a client’s choice to accept, augment, modify, refuse or terminate treatment
e) Being informed about moral and legal rights of a client
f) Advocating for and supporting a client in exercising his/her moral and legal rights
We know that there is a divide of opinion on the COVID 19 Vaccination. We are not here to advocate to get, or not to get the vaccination. We are going to provide you with one question that you should be asking every client when they come in, guidance on some questions that you shouldn’t
ask or answer.
The one question that you should be asking every client when you see them is this: “Have you received a vaccination within the last 48 hours?” The reason for this question is the guidance which we have provided in previous newsletters, and which we will share again now. Here are CMMOTA’s recommendations: For your clients – the standard contraindication for vaccination of 2 days applies in this case. This would be an absolute contraindication, so please do not massage a client who has received the vaccine within the last 48 hours. Additionally, if the site of the injection is sore, shows signs of redness or inflammation, a local contraindication is recommended until the swelling and soreness is no longer present. Unlike other vaccinations where treatment of the site may be indicated, at this time the recommendation is not to treat the site.
When it comes to questions that you should not ask, the issue has more to do with the intent or perceived intent rather than actual wording. Vaccinated, or not vaccinated, either way asking any question about vaccination status to decide on whether to give treatment would actually open the door for a potential human rights violation. Whether a person chooses to be vaccinated or not is their individual choice, likewise it would be their choice on whether or not they wish to disclose that information. As therapists it is our responsibility to treat the client regardless of whether they have received the vaccine or not.
We also want to provide guidance if your clinic is approached with the question of whether or not a therapist has received the vaccine. In such a case an appropriate response to a client would be “Our place of business does not violate our therapists’ human rights, so we do not distinguish between those who have or have not been vaccinated. It is each person’s individual right to choose whether or not they receive medical treatment, including vaccinations, and discrimination based on their choice of
treatment would likely be considered a violation of their human rights.”