Website such as these
How Can I Get Vaccinated If My Parents Are Anti-Vaccine? By Vincent Iannelli, MD
are very disconcerting as they are a deliberate and intentional effort to undermine the right and responsibility of parents to make medical decisions for their dependent minor children. As disconcerting as websites like this are, of greater concern is the actions being taken by governments and the medical industry to bypass parental authority and responsibility by facilitating minors to make vaccination decisions without parental knowledge or consent. We are aware of children as young as nine years of age “consenting” to vaccination without the knowledge or consent of their parents.
Mature Minor Doctrine
The Mature Minor Doctrine was introduced to various health care acts to permit adolescents to access birth control devices and abortion services without the knowledge or consent of their parents. It was never intended as a tool to avoid the consent of parents in making vaccination decisions. Today, the Mature Minor Doctrine is commonly utilized in school-based vaccination clinics to vaccinate children without parental knowledge or consent.
It is the position of Vaccine Choice Canada that vaccinating children without the knowledge or consent of parents is both unethical and dangerous in that vaccine providers in schools do not have full knowledge of the medical histories of the children and their extended family. To expect a child to know and communicate this information is unreasonable and irresponsible. For some children, a vaccination given when medically contra-indicated or when there is a family history of adverse reactions to vaccination can result in serious injury or death of that child. Failure to fully consider these medically indicated contra-indications is irresponsible and unethical.
Violations of Informed Consent
The legal and ethical right to voluntary informed consent is regularly abused by public health nurses conducting vaccination programs in the school setting in several ways:
- When parental consent has not been obtained, even if a legal vaccine exemption is on file, minor children are being told by public health nurses that they have the right to make their own vaccine decision, and do not need their parents’ permission.
- Children are rarely given the vaccine risk information as disclosed in manufacturers’ information inserts.
- Students without an exemption on file are being threatened with school suspension if they don’t submit to the vaccines being offered, creating a climate of fear, intimidation and coercion.
- When children are coerced to submit to vaccination under threat of school suspension, the accepted ethical parameters of the basic human right to voluntary, informed consent are being violated.
- Vaccine compliance elicited from children under threat of suspension and who are not informed they have the legal right to refuse vaccination, constitutes an extreme form of bullying and coercion and is construed under Canadian Medical Law as a “battery” as well as a violation of our Charter rights.
Every reasonable person knows that children as young as nine years old do not have the maturity or life experience to evaluate the risks and benefits of receiving one or multiple vaccines. A child of this age is incapable of making an informed decision about this complex medical issue. Many adults struggle to make this decision. Added to this is the pro-vaccine propaganda disseminated in the public-school system which paints a rosy picture of vaccines without disclosing the very real risks of injury associated with all vaccines.
Our concern with vaccination clinics in school-based settings is that they appear to be an exercise in herding students through a process as quickly as possible. Students are very often not afforded privacy to voice medical questions or concerns. The administration of vaccines is often conducted publicly so one’s right to medical privacy is violated. The practitioners providing the injection appear to have no knowledge or access to the student’s medical or family history. And there appears to be no established and auditable processes in place to ensure both the evaluation of capacity and the dissemination of medical information necessary to make a truly informed decision. Without standardized and auditable processes in place, school-based vaccination clinics might well be using the simple act of rolling up one’s sleeve as evidence of consent.
Further, it is reported that in some schools, parents are no longer being informed about scheduled vaccination clinics. This removes the right of parents to keep their children at home on vaccination clinic days. This is seen by many as an intentional effort to undermine parental consent. These actions are making our schools unsafe places for parents and children.
This action is especially egregious given the World Health Organization is of the opinion that children who are in attendance at school on vaccination days are “implied to have given consent” to being vaccinated. Not informing parents of scheduled school vaccine clinics is a clear violation of the ethical and legal right to informed consent and violates parents’ Charter rights to determine what is best for their children.
Governments like the BC government have been very explicit in their agenda to vaccinate our children without the consent of parents. In a recent document provided they state: “Children whose parent / guardian has indicated that their child will not be immunized will be re-offered vaccine at future encounters, including, as a minimum:
- When the child turns 10 years of age
- When the child turns 13 years of age
After the age of 13, children may be asked to consent to immunization on their own behalf, regardless of previous parent / guardian refusal.” 
These actions are an intentional and unethical means to usurp parental authority and to give the medical industry the power to coerce children into making health care decisions that may conflict with family values and health requirements.
We are also aware of children on the autism spectrum and who do not have the capacity to understand the implications of consenting to vaccination being vaccinated in school settings without the knowledge or consent of the parent. The fact that this is occurring shows the inability of medical professionals to appropriately evaluate the capacity of children to make these complex medical decisions.
Added to this concern is the fact that neither the vaccine manufacturers nor the medical professionals administering the vaccines are legally or financially liable when vaccine injury and death occurs.
In our mutual effort to ensure that the rights of children and parents are respected and safe guarded, and that proper informed consent is secured as pertains to those deemed “mature minors”, we offer the following recommendations:
- Notification of any school-based vaccination clinic be provided in writing to parents with precise information on the dates, location, and vaccines being administered. These notifications ought to be mailed using Canada Post rather than relying on children to deliver the notices to their parents.
- Parents ought to be advised in writing not to send minors to school during vaccine clinic days if they do not consent to a vaccine. However, attendance does not imply consent.
- Where a minor expresses an interest in a vaccine, the parent ought to be alerted in writing as to the interest of the child. There is no medical justification to warrant imposing vaccines upon minors without the proper and considered informed consent of the parents.
- Where the complete medical history of the individual and family is unknown to the immunizer, in the absence of formal written consent by the parents, the immunizer must refrain from vaccinating the minor and instead refer the minor to his/her family physician.
- Minors with intellectual or learning disabilities must not be vaccinated in a school-based setting and instead be referred to a family physician knowledgeable of the minor’s medical history and intellectual capacity.
- Where there is any question about capacity, the immunizer must error on the side of caution and refer the minor to his or her family physician.
- Assessors of capacity must recognize that children on the autism spectrum can present as competent, however, they may have significant learning and processing challenges that preclude their capacity to make a properly informed decision on such a complex medical intervention.
- Immunizers ought to be directed to refrain from vaccinating a minor without the knowledge or consent of the parents. To do so has the potential to undermine the confidence of parents in the medical system, threaten the experience of safety in a school environment, as well as put a minor at risk of an adverse event when the medical and family history are not well known by the immunizer or the minor.
- Any efforts to undermine the authority of the parent’s in medical decision-making ought to be subject to the highest level of scrutiny and accountability.
Ted Kuntz, President
Vaccine Choice Canada