Imee Marcos: DOH should not dismiss parental consent on children’s COVID-19 vaccination

Senator Imee Marcos on Sunday said she is outraged at the Department of Health (DOH) for releasing a memorandum that enables the government to dismiss parental consent if a child is willing to be vaccinated.

Marcos reminded the DOH that the government should not and can’t usurp parental authority.

“Government cannot usurp parental authority. Parents have the right to decide on the health and safety of their children,” Marcos said in a statement.

Marcos is referring to the controversial memorandum issued last January 24 stating that the government can act as “parens patriae” – Latin for parent of the nation – when a child wants to be vaccinated but parental consent is denied.

Stated on Page 6 of the memorandum stated that: “In case the parent/guardian refuses to give consent to the vaccination despite the desire and willingness of the minor child to have himself/herself vaccinated, or there are no Persons that may legally exercise parental authority over the child, the State may act as parens patriae and give the necessary consent. Therefore, the proper officer representing the State as parens patriae may sign the consent form. In this regard, the DSWD or its city/municipal counterparts shall serve as the proper office who shall represent the State.”

“The DOH has a lot of explaining to do. This isn’t the first time it committed a gaffe of such magnitude,” Marcos pointed out.

Last December 2021, the government announced it had bought some 15 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to inoculate children 5 to 11 years old, but they were forced to move the start of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign for minors to Monday, due to logistical problems.

The senator said she hopes that the push to vaccinate children is “really for their sake and not for the sake of vaccine purchases already made.”

“Let’s prioritize the elderly and not lose sight of fully vaccinating the most vulnerable groups before rushing to vaccinate healthy kids,” Marcos said.