Saturday, September 25, 2021
HomeCOVID-19The utter shambles of child Covid vaccine consent

The utter shambles of child Covid vaccine consent

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WE have thus far witnessed all health and safety guidance concerning the vaccination of 12-15-year-olds from both the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JVCI) and Public Health England tossed on to the scrap-heap; where they now lie alongside the UK’s pre-Covid ‘Pandemic Preparedness Strategy’ et al.

Another public health body’s work yet to be considered for disposal is the Department of Health and Social Care’s ‘Reference guide to consent for examination or treatment’, last updated 2009, that has some very pertinent statements to review on the urgent matter of child consent. 

 According to the government website, this document ‘provides a guide to the legal framework that all health professionals need to take account of in obtaining valid consent for any examination, treatment or care that they propose to undertake’.

Chapter 3 concerns children and young people, paragraph 9 stating: ‘If the child is Gillick competent . . .  consent will be valid and additional consent by a person with parental responsibility will not be required. It is, however, good practice to involve the child’s family in the decision-making process’ (emphasis mine).

The details of how consent to Covid-19 vaccination will be assessed are still shrouded, with anti-vaccine parents by default the ones bearing the brunt of the worry.

This disquiet will perhaps be more pronounced in those with pro-vaccine children, particularly as the Health Secretary stated on September 8 that if a child is believed to be competent enough to make the decision, ‘they will prevail’ over their parents. 

These parents would be justified in their fears that Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and Health Secretary Sajid Javid may deem that sending a perfunctory leaflet home from school to be ‘good practice’ on the matter of family involvement; the intentionally half-hearted token nullified by pumping one-sided vaccination propaganda into children behind closed school doors.

What you end up with in this scenario is not only a corruption of the lawful process of Gillick assessment – through its strategically lackadaisical attainment en masse – but simultaneously, worried parents kept purposely at arm’s length, powerless to intervene: i.e. a kidnapping of consent.

Equally troubling is the reversal of this scenario – a pro-treatment parent versus an anti-treatment child – wherein courts in the past have permitted the parent’s decision to prevail. However the DHSC state that ‘there is no post-Human Rights Act 1998 authority for this proposition, and it would therefore be prudent to obtain a court declaration or decision if faced with a competent child or young person who is refusing to consent to treatment, to determine whether it is lawful to treat the child.’(Chapter 3, paragraph 15)

But the Health Secretary also stated on September 8 that should a parent and child disagree on vaccination, ‘we have specialists that work in this area, the schools vaccination service. They would usually literally sit down with the parent and the child, and try to reach some kind of consensus’.

Realistically, just how many cases of anti-treatment children refusing the wishes of their pro-treatment parents will necessitate a court declaration, when the very first hurdle in the process shall be attempting to vault the hyper-biased medical misinformation of the inevitably pro-narrative, ‘specialist’ mediators of the local health authority?

Clearly, in the Health Secretary’s eyes the JCVI and Public Health England do not count as specialists, so he has a duty of care to specify immediately not only how local schools vaccination services would suddenly have the credentials to tender Covid-specific safety guidance somehow superior to that of the JCVI, PHE and DHSC combined, but to outline just how and where exactly they intend on perhaps sitting down with an anti-vaccine child, alongside their perhaps-invited parents, to reach the good practice of a consensus. And this is without introducing a scenario in which one parent is for and the other against.

Or shall the matter be dealt with only once each school reaches a pre-determined quota of child/parent disagreements, with concerns glossed over in assembly, or tacked on to the next parents’ evening?

All anxious parties involved need to know the intended protocol now. Not on the day, the day before, or even the week before, and then presented in such an apathetic way as to be redundant.

Public Health England’s Green Book of vaccines and vaccine guidance names the Pfizer BioNTech offering ‘Cominarty’ as the preferred vaccine for 12-15-year-olds, identifying it as having the most extensive safety data in the age group. Yet PHE also state that due to the ‘absence of safety and efficacy data’ on it (Phase 3 clinical trials will complete in 2023) the very same demographic are not even recommended for vaccination. Ergo, Cominarty may still be classified as being an experimental product, still in the research phase.

The Department of Health have a few things of utmost importance to say on the matter of ‘Research and Innovative Treatment’ in Chapter 1, paragraphs 39, 40 and 41. Such as:

‘If the treatment being offered is of an experimental nature, but not actually part of a research trial, this fact must be clearly explained to a person with capacity before their consent is sought, along with information about standard alternatives [and] information about known possible side-effects.’

Will the Health Secretary’s ‘specialists that work in this area’ be committed to informing every single child and their parents – pro or anti – that Cominarty is officially experimental, and that therefore children are being asked to take part in a research trial to which itself alone they have not yet provided consent? Will Sajid Javid be instructing these opaque health professionals to point out the Yellow Card Scheme statistics, as is lawfully required?

Surely it should be considered good practice to obtain consent to participation in a research trial before then repeating said process for the administering of the experimental treatment itself?

And will the schools vaccination service also be reminding parents and children during these speculative conflict-resolutions that the arrival of ‘Freedom Day’ was trumpeted two months ago, and that behaving as if at the peak of an emergency is no longer required; therefore there exists no basis upon which to be proffering emergency use authorisation-only biological matter in the first place?

The DHSC continue: ‘Where the person is an adult who lacks capacity, or a child, then the experimental treatment cannot be given, unless it would be in their best interests,’ going on to say that only where no alternative treatments are available and the disease is fatal there may be some case to be made for pursuing experimental treatment.

The JCVI’s own recently dismissed report clearly indicates that no healthy children died from Covid-19 in the period February 2020 to March 2021. The disease having proved far from fatal, experimental treatment may therefore not be administered in this case.

The Health Secretary and Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty will no doubt identify such ‘best interests’ as the avoidance of fatal educational inconsistency, which by default spills over into maintaining harmony and economic stability at home – a stinking red herring in other words.

Many anxious parents are at their wits’ end with your fishy politics, sirs. More children have killed themselves than have died of Covid-19, and it is the fatal culture of social incohesion you engender the true virus they required inoculating against.

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Tom Penn
Tom Penn is a man with a lot of time on his hands these days, and a smartphone.

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