PAO sends petition response to SolGen on vaccination program for kids
MANILA, Philippines—The Public Attorneys Office (PAO) maintained that vaccination for children aged 5 to 11 years old should stop as it accused the Department of Health (DOH) of withholding information about the Pfizer vaccine.
In its reply to the comment submitted by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), the petitioners, who are parents of children within the 5 to 11 year old bracket, represented by PAO said despite “the rescission of [a] portion of the DOH memorandum, parents are still being deprived of ‘informed’ consent; with emphasis on the word ‘informed,’ as crucial information about Pfizer vaccine is withheld in the DOH’s public information efforts.”
PAO earlier also accused the DOH of usurping the responsibilities of parents by allowing the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to give consent on behalf of the child despite hesitancy of the parents.
The DOH has removed the clause from its memorandum but PAO said it does not cure the fact that the memo is null and void.
“The DOH has a duty to disclose to a potential vaccine recipient, in the exercise of reasonable care, mild, moderate, or serious risks of injury, the possibility of death and rare adverse events that might be incurred from a proposed course of treatment, and alternative treatments, so that a potential vaccine or the parent of a minor vaccine recipient, exercising ordinary care for his own or child’s welfare, may intelligently exercise his or her judgment whether to give consent to it or not,” it pointed out.
But the OSG said petitioners “are armed with nothing but bare allegations and speculations that do not carry any weight and credibility.”
The OSG, quoting Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergiere during the February 8 hearing, said that there was no other program, as effective as the vaccination, that was being undertaken by the DOH to protect the children against COVID-19. A pediatric formulation of the Pfizer vaccine is reportedly being used on children aged 5-11.
State lawyers added that the scientific community, the World Health Organization (WHO) and several medical organizations such as the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) and the Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS), support the vaccination program for the children.
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