Saturday, September 18, 2021

Changes to 'Mature Minor Consent' in BC: Kids under 12 might be asked to consent to COVID-19 vaccines

 

Author: Tracey Young. (Sept. 18, 2021). Changes to 'Mature Minor Consent' in BC: Kids Under 12 might be asked to consent to COVID-19 vaccines. Advocacy BC. Retrieved from: https://advocacybc.blogspot.com/2021/09/changes-to-mature-minor-consent-in-bc.html

In this article, I will present the following:

 Parents' Legal Rights and Duties as Legal Guardians to their Minor Children

 What is Informed Consent for health care decisions and medical treatments

■ What is Consent under the Infants Act of B.C.: Medical Treatment, Sec. 17, Consent of infant to medical treatment

■ The Infants Act, Mature Minor Consent and Immunization from the B.C. Government

■ Changes the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has made to their 'Communicable Disease Control Manual' policy, and process for what is required for "Mature Minor Consent" to give children COVID-19 vaccines

Suggestions for advocacy for parents and others who would like to bring awareness of these changes and the potential impacts for kids, parents, and others, including a link to a template parents and legal guardians can send to the principal and vice principal of their childrens' school about immunizations

 BC and Canadian COVID-19 Vaccine Adverse Health Reaction Statistics Update, to September 17, 2021

Introduction

The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has made changes to their 'Communicable Disease Control Manual,' policy, and process for what is required for "Mature Minor Consent" to give children under the age of 12 the ability to provide "Consent" to taking COVID-19 vaccines. The procedural and process changes includes removing an important "check and balance" in the form of consultation with senior managers and risk consultants' about whether a young person can legally provide Mature Minor Consent to take a vaccine without their parents'/legal guardians' knowledge, or consent. This gives discretion, authority, and power to community health care workers, who are strangers and lack knowledge about kids' health histories, to assess and approve young peoples' capacity to provide consent for immunizations at school, or elsewhere. 

I have received reports from different areas of B.C. that vaccine clinics have already been taking place where health authority employees have been sent into schools. Once on school property, they have been speaking with children and youth about vaccines. COVID-19 vaccines may have been administered at school to minors in the 12-17 age group without their parental/legal guardians' knowledge, or consent. 

Parents' Legal Rights and Duties as Legal Guardians to their Minor Children

The B.C. government says this on their website: "A guardian is responsible for their child’s care and upbringing. Only a guardian may have parental responsibilities and parenting time."

Parental responsibilities

Parental responsibilities are the responsibilities guardians have when raising a child, including:

  • Daily decisions made when you are caring for the child
  • Important decisions like those related to education, religion, and medical treatment
  • Receiving information (including about health and education) about the child from others, and
  • Protecting the child’s legal and financial interests

Parents' Legal Rights as Guardians: Parents and legal guardians have a fundamental right and need to be aware of what medical and health care, medical procedures and treatments, and substances their minor children are receiving from the state. Immunizations fall into this category as vaccines are administered primarily by Health Authority employees (Ie. "the state").  

Parents' Legal Duty of Care to their children: Family and child protection laws in B.C. are clear that parents and legal guardians have a legal duty of care and obligation to protect and safeguard their minor children's physical and psychological health, safety, and well-being

  • It is my analysis as a former child protection worker that parents' legal duty of care and legal guardianship of their children is being undermined, compromised, and subverted by the state -- in this situation this is the BC Centre for Disease Control, the B.C. government, and the Health Authorities in B.C. regarding vaccines and immunization. 

  • If children are determined by a stranger to be capable of giving consent to receive a COVID-19 vaccine (or any others) and they experience an adverse health reaction parents have a legal duty of care and right to know what medical care, medical procedures, and substances their minor children have received from those who administered it, as well as all of the other details regarding the process undertaken by the individuals who assessed and determined capacity for consent. 

Parents' and guardians know their children and their health histories best: They are in the best position to make health care consent decisions on behalf of their minor children where the state and experimental vaccines are concerned. Parents will also be the ones' who will be put in the position of having to ensure their children receive health care, and make decisions about that as legal guardians in the event their child suffers an Adverse health reaction post-vaccine. 

Adverse Health Reactions to COVID-19 Vaccines: Based on the statistical data and research that is available regarding the Adverse Health Reactions (AHR's) being experienced by recipients of these experimental immunizations, particularly for young people, it is my analysis that Canadians have not been able to provide true Informed Consent prior to taking COVID-19 vaccines. See below for the most recent AHR statistics from the Canadian government to have a snapshot of the how serious the situation is. 

Figure 3. # of Adverse Event Reports by Age and Sexup to and including Sept. 3, 2021 (n=14,702)

      

Sources: Government of B.C. What Does It Mean to Be a Guardian. Retrieved from: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/life-events/divorce/family-justice/family-law/parenting-apart/what-does-it-mean-to-be-a-guardian.

Government of Canada. Reported side effects following COVID-19 vaccination in Canada, up to Sept. 3rd, 2021. https://health-infobase.canada.ca/covid-19/vaccine-safety/

Informed Consent

Informed Consent requires the following: 

Having the benefits, risks, and alternatives for a specific medical/health intervention explained in detail PRIOR to this intervention being administered

Having the nature of the treatment (Ie. vaccine), what it is supposed to do 

Have a very clear explanation of what potential side effects and risks are associated with the substance

Receive information about the known Adverse Health reactions and side effects people who have received the treatment have experienced as part of the risk-benefit decision-making process 

Example: In the United Kingdom (UK), the Joint Committee on Vaccine and Immunisation (JCVI), the UK vaccine regulatory body, has decided that the benefits of the vaccine for the age group 12-15 is so small, it does not outweigh the known risks of kids in this age group after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. See National Health Service (NHS) advice on who is approved to receive COVID-19 vaccines here in the UK.

This article takes a deep dive into Informed Consent. It is a must-read for parents and others:

Advocacy and Informed Consent for Health Interventions: Masks, Temperature Screening, Hand Sanitizer, COVID19 Swabbing, Testing and Vaccines




Infants Act of BC: Health Care and Medical Treatment Consent

  • The Infants Act explains the legal position of children under 19 years of age.

  • One of the topics covered in the Infants Act is the health care of children. The Infants Act states that children may consent to a medical treatment on their own as long as the health care provider is sure that the treatment is in the child's best interest, and that the child understands the details of the treatment, including risks and benefits. It is up to the health care provider to assess and ensure the child's understanding of the treatment." (BC Government)

Source: BC Government. (2021). The Infants Act, Mature Minor Consent and Immunization. Retrieved from: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthlinkbc-files/infants-act-mature-minor-consent-and-immunization.

Infants Act:

Part 2 — Medical Treatment, Sec. 17, Consent of infant to medical treatment from the Infants Act

17   (1) In this section:

"health care" means anything that is done for a therapeutic, preventive, palliative, diagnostic, cosmetic or other health related purpose, and includes a course of health care;

"health care provider" includes a person licensed, certified or registered in British Columbia to provide health care.

(2) Subject to subsection (3), an infant may consent to health care whether or not that health care would, in the absence of consent, constitute a trespass to the infant's person, and if an infant provides that consent, the consent is effective and it is not necessary to obtain a consent to the health care from the infant's parent or guardian.

(3) A request for or consent, agreement or acquiescence to health care by an infant does not constitute consent to the health care for the purposes of subsection (2) unless the health care provider providing the health care

(a) has explained to the infant and has been satisfied that the infant understands the nature and consequences and the reasonably foreseeable benefits and risks of the health care, and

(b) has made reasonable efforts to determine and has concluded that the health care is in the infant's best interests.

Video: BCCDC: Mature Minor Informed Consent

Youtube. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsnRHdT5ls0

Special note: In this video, the BCCDC states that the following steps are also part of the process involved in approaching "mature minors" to assess for consent for health and medical treatment decisions, such as immunization:

Health assessments  – Does the minor have any specific diagnosed, or suspected health issues, conditions, or use medications? If so, have they been assessed/are they being assessed? What medications have they been prescribed and what are they treating?

Eligibility   Does the minor fit within the eligibility criteria for the proposed medical treatment?

Contraindication Determination   Does the minor have any health issues, medications, or other risk factors that could create risk and impact how the minor might negatively react to the medical treatment?

Other Health Issues  Is there a family history of reactions to similar treatments, or health conditions that might create risk and impact how the minor might negatively react to the medical treatment? Any recent, or historical adverse reactions to similar medical treatments (Ie. vaccines)? What happened? Has the young person ever experienced serious physical, or psychological trauma and injuries? Who is available to provide health care and support for the minor if they consent to receiving a medical treatment? 


Communicable Diseases and Immunization in B.C.

BCCDC states: "The purpose of the guidelines in the Communicable Disease Control Manual is to assist public health practitioners with decision-making about specific situations and support consistency of provincial public health practice."

BC Centre for Disease Control. Communicable Disease Manual. 

Link: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-professionals/clinical-resources/communicable-disease-control-manual

Chapter 2: Immunization

Link: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-professionals/clinical-resources/communicable-disease-control-manual/immunization

The Infants Act, Mature Minor Consent and Immunization

Linkhttps://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthlinkbc-files/infants-act-mature-minor-consent-and-immunization

What is “mature minor consent”?

A child under the age of 19 is called a “minor”. “Mature minor consent” is the consent a child gives to receive health care after the child has been assessed by a health care provider as having the necessary understanding to give the consent. A child who is assessed by a health care provider as being capable to give consent is called a "mature minor".

A child who is a mature minor may make their own health care decisions independent of their parents' or guardians' wishes. In B.C. there is no set age when a child is considered capable to give consent.

A health care provider can accept consent from the child and provide health care that is in the child's best interests without getting consent from the parent or guardian if the health care provider is sure that the child understands: (***See note below)

  • The need for the health care
  • What the health care involves and
  • The benefits and risks of the health care

How does “mature minor consent” relate to immunization?

In B.C., immunizations for school aged children are given in grade 6 and grade 9 (and other grades if children are behind in immunization or at risk for certain vaccine-preventable diseases). Most of the time, the vaccines are given by nurses at immunization clinics held at schools. Children may also get vaccines at a health unit, youth clinic, doctor's office or pharmacy. In all of these settings, a child can consent to the vaccine on their own behalf if the health care provider has determined that the child is capable of making this decision.

Although there is no set age for when a child becomes capable, common practice is for parents or guardians of children in grade 6 to give consent for their child to be immunized. However, children in grade 9 and older are given the opportunity to consent for themselves. If a child refuses a vaccine for which their parent or guardian has consented, they must be informed of the risks of not having it.

The immunization records of any child who gives their own consent will not be shared with the parent or guardian, unless the child gives permission.

*** The B.C. government's explanation of what they consider to be "Consent" from a minor does not appear to be consistent with the legal requirements for Informed Consent. 

Immunization Consent Policy and Procedural Change 

From the BCCDC: Re: Update to Communicable Disease Control Manual, Chapter 2: Immunization, Appendix A – Informed Consent for Immunization (See letter below which communicates these changes)

Appendix A – Informed Consent for Immunization

Section 4. Step by Step Process for Obtaining Informed Consent, 4.1c) Mature Minors has been updated to remove the recommendation to consult with a Program Manager or Risk Management Consultant for further direction when obtaining mature minor consent for children 12 years of age and younger. This change has been made to remove any perceived barriers for such children who are deemed capable and wish to provide consent on their own behalf (i.e mature minor consent).

The COVID-19 vaccine is approved for use in those 12 years of age and older, and is being offered to those who will be turning 12 years of age within the calendar year. The Infants Act, which explains the legal position of children under 19 years of age, indicates that there is no legal age of consent for health care in BC; instead, a minor’s ability to consent depends upon the minor’s level of maturity.


BCCDC Letter Stating the Changes to Mature Minor Consent Process and Procedure


Advocacy Tips and Suggestions For parents and Others 

These issues need to be shared with other parents, grandparents and concerned people to bring awareness of these changes and the potential impacts for kids, parents, and others. These are some of the things that can be done below. 

Share this article with other concerned parents and adults to increase awareness of these issues and find ways to work together to protect and safeguard children and youth at school. 

Read the Infants Act and the BCCDC Communicable Disease Manual to understand the situation kids in your life might be facing. See links above. 

Talk openly and give your kids EXPLICIT direction and PRACTICE WORDS they can use to tell adults who bring up vaccines with them at school, or anywhere else how to respond. Things like: 

  • "My parents and I make health decisions together." 

  • "I think you/I should talk to my parents about vaccines." 

  • "I feel uncomfortable discussing this topic with you. I would like to stop talking about this now." or "I would like to talk about something else." 

Join with other parents and concerned adults to create a plan to address the issue of kids being approached at school, or elsewhere to take COVID-19 vaccines (or others)

Consider speaking with a lawyer who specialized in Family Law who you can discuss the issue of the state administering health/medical treatments to your children without your consent, or knowledge. Find out what you can do to legally prevent this, and what to do if it happens anyways. 

Send the template I have created for Parents and Legal Guardians to send to Principals, Vice Principals as administrators responsible for the health, safety and well-being of children and youth at school. Find the template here:

Sample Template Parents and Legal Guardians Can Send to School Principals About COVID-19 and Other Vaccines

BC and Canadian COVID-19 Vaccine Adverse Health Reaction Statistics Update, to September 17, 2021

    

Copyright © 2021.Tracey Young/Advocacy BC. All Rights Reserved.

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#BC #bced #bcpoli #bckids #bcfamilies #COVID19 #COVID19vaccines #AdverseHealthEvents #Canada #cdnpoli #DutytoWarn #InformedConsent #NurembergCode #Bioethics #Ethics


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