FACT CHECK: Does This Australian Vaccine Advisory Group Recommend Vaccinating Sedated Patients Without Their Consent?

Anna Mock | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ATAGI) recommends administering vaccines to people who are sedated without their consent. 

Verdict: False

ATAGI policy requires informed consent for all patients receiving a vaccine. A spokesperson for the Australian Government Department of Health (DOH) confirmed that the allegation is false. 

Fact Check: 

ATAGI is a group of vaccine experts that advise the Australian government on vaccine-related decisions, according to The Conversation. A post shared on Facebook claims it recently advocated vaccinating patients without their consent when they are sedated. The post includes an image featuring an alleged quote from the group that reads, “Vaccines may also be administered opportunistically while patients are undergoing sedation for unrelated procedures.”

“Now they’re going to get people while they’re sleeping, without their knowledge or consent,” reads the image’s caption. (RELATED: No, Australia’s Prime Minister Did Not Fake Getting The Covid-19 Vaccine) 

The alleged quote from the group is a genuine statement taken from an April 2022 ATAGI document regarding the use of sedation for COVID-19 vaccination. However, the statement has been taken out of context. 

The document describes how sedation can be used to assist in the vaccination of people who have “anxiety disorders or needle-phobia” in instances where “non-pharmacological techniques have failed.” It also clearly states that consent is necessary for all vaccinations.

“Informed consent must be obtained prior to each dose from the patient themselves, or, where the patient does not have capacity to give consent, from the parent, guardian or substitute decision-maker,” reads the document. “Sedation should not be used as a measure to enforce compliance with vaccination requirements.”

“There is no truth to the claim that doctors have permission to vaccinate a person under sedation without consent,” said a representative from the Australian DOH in an email to AAP Fact Check. Check Your Fact found no credible news reports to suggest ATAGI has endorsed using sedation to forcefully vaccinate people. 

Anna Mock

Fact Check Reporter