KAWARTHA LAKES-A Bobcaygeon man who has custody of his grandchildren says one of them received the COVID-19 vaccine against his wishes and without informed consent.
Fred Smith’s granddaughter is 13 years old. She was vaccinated at a clinic at Fenelon Falls Secondary School last Thursday. Smith says when he received an email notifying him there would be clinics held at FFSS he immediately emailed them and told them he did not consent to his granddaughters being vaccinated.
“I’m not antivax but I am anti-experiment. The girls have had all of their other vaccines but I am not comfortable with this one until all the long-term safety studies are done.” Smith told Kawartha 411 News. “I explained my view and yesterday when kids came home I asked, how was school and what about the clinics. That’s when the 13-year-old told me she got it. I was teary-eyed.”
The COVID-19 vaccine has received interim authorization for emergency use in Canada and health officials stress the vaccine is safe and effective.
The Health Unit says parental/guardian permission is not required for vaccination.
“Under the definition of Informed Consent as part of the Health Care Consent Act, if it is determined that the student understands the information and has made an informed decision, the permission of the parent is not needed for any medical decision.” Chandra Tremblay, Communications Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit told Kawartha 411 News.
However, according to Smith his granddaughter was not allowed to change one of her school courses last week without his permission.
A recent study in the Uk found children are at “extremely low risk” from COVID. Read more here:https://www.bbc.com/news/health-57766717
In the UK, kids from 12-15 are offered one dose of the vaccine, it is not mandatory.
Smith’s granddaughter, who we are calling Sandy (not her real name) to protect her identity, told Kawartha 411 News she wasn’t really sure why she got the vaccine.
“I kept telling myself it was the right thing to do,” Sandy said. “I feel if it doesn’t do anything to me it might be the right thing.”
Sandy went on to say that she wasn’t told about any possible side effects until after she had already been vaccinated.
“Afterward they gave me a yellow document with some minor side effects on it like, coughing, sneezing and the date and time of the first shot, but they didn’t say anything about side effects before the shot.”
According to the “Informed Consent Act” consent is informed if before giving it:
a)the person received the information about the treatment that a reasonable person in the same circumstances would require to make a decision; and
The information must include the:
■ nature of the treatment;
■ expected benefits of the treatment;
■ material risks and side effects of the treatment; ■ alternative courses of action; and
■ likely consequences of not having the treatment.
b) the person received responses to his/her requests for additional information about the treatment.
Find the link here:https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/96h02
Sandy says she was informed of the nature of the treatment before the shot but none of the other consent protocols were followed.
The Health Unit would not discuss this case citing privacy issues but says the students are told about the side effects in advance.
“During the day, students are invited to come to the clinic to meet with a public health nurse. The nurses talk to the student about COVID-19, verbally provide information about the vaccine, answer any questions they might have, review the potential side effects and then will provide the vaccine if the student consents.” Tremblay states. “After any individual is vaccinated, they are provided with an After Care fact sheet that outlines potential side effects and provides guidance on how to alleviate the most common side effects (sore arm, tiredness). A yellow “vaccine receipt” is provided to the individual once the vaccine is given.”
Despite apparently not being given all of the information required for informed consent Sandy told Kawartha 411 she still felt she had given “informed consent”.
Smith says he is also concerned that his granddaughter did not have her health card was asked instead to provide personal information in a public setting.
The health unit says if a student presents at a vaccination clinic without their Ontario Health Card, their full name, date of birth, and complete address are added into the system, as well as the type of identification used to verify their identity.
“Some individuals may not have an Ontario Health Card, including people who are homeless, and they have been able to be vaccinated at clinics. The provincial data system is merged with other provincial health systems so a health card number may be found in an immunization database or other system that can be used to verify the identity of the vaccinated person,” says Tremblay.
According to the Canadian Medical Association, informed consent has become the primary paradigm for protecting the legal rights of patients and guiding the ethical practice of medicine.
The Health Unit is urging everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated to do so.
“With the return to in-person learning, we continue to emphasize the importance of having as many people vaccinated as possible, including the students. Being vaccinated against COVID-19 will help protect them, and other members of their family and community from either getting the virus or becoming seriously ill if they do get COVID-19.” Says Tremblay.
For more information on vaccination click here: https://www.hkpr.on.ca/2021/09/01/vaccination-clinics/
Note: Some names in this story have been changed to protect the identity of minor children.