Two parents have filed a petition before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court seeking the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the rollout of the vaccination for minors ages 5 to 11 against COVID-19.
Petitioners Dominic Almelor and Girlie Samonte urged the QC RTC to make the injunction permanent and declare Department of Health (DOH) Memorandum No. 2022-0041 as unconstitutional and void for grave abuse of discretion.
The petitioners expressed concern that should they refuse to give consent despite the desire of their child to get vaccinated, the state may act as the parens patriae and give the necessary consent under the memorandum.
“The DOH Memorandum was issued in grave abuse of discretion and unconstitutional, given all the red flags against the administration of COVID-19 vaccines to children,” the 74-page petition indicates.
Meanwhile, the petition argued that the DOH cannot desire a parent or a guardian such authority by virtue of a memorandum, especially if the parents have concerns about the safety of their children.
“Taking away such right to refuse consent from the parents/guardians is the same as making the vaccination mandatory, a blatant and clear circumvention of the Republic Act No. 11525,” the petition adds.
Further, it argued that the invocation of the parens patriae is inapplicable as the vaccine involved is still experimental in nature and only an emergency use authorization has been issued.
The respondents named in the petition are Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, and the Department of Health.
Meanwhile, the petitioners said that they do not intend to vilify or trivialize efforts exerted by governments and nations to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.
Almelor is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 while Samonte’s reluctance stems from her children’s experience after getting the Dengvaxia vaccine.
GMA News Online has reached out to the DOH for comment but has yet to receive a response as of posting time.
The rollout is set to begin on Friday, February 4.
Malacañang previously assured the public that the vaccines are safe and effective.
An infectious disease expert has also advised parents to talk to trusted health professionals instead of relying on social media for information.
In a joint statement, the DOH and the National Task Force Against COVID-19 said that it is the right of the individuals to file a case.
However, they maintained that the vaccination rollout will continue.
“The policy on vaccinating children aged five to 11 is the result of careful study by health experts and has been approved in many countries, including the United States of America which has one of the most stringent regulatory bodies in the world,” the joint statement read.
“And as we have emphasized, all FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective,” it added.
Further, the agencies said there were no reported deaths or serious adverse events among the 8.1 million children vaccinated worldwide.
There were also no adverse events recorded among the 9 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 that have been vaccinated with at least one dose since the rollout in October 2021.
At present, the DOH and the NTF said over 100,000 children 5 to 11 years old have been pre-registered for vaccination.
“This number signifies the willingness and confidence of parents to have their children vaccinated against the deadly virus,” the statement read.
“We would also like to point out that parental consent forms are required for all minors who will be vaccinated, and that extra measures have been taken to ensure their safety,” it added.
The agencies also called on parents and guards to make the right and informed decision for their children’s health and well-being.
“Vaccinating them is crucial to achieving our goal of protecting all members of the Filipino family – children, adults, and senior citizens. This will enable us to continue the safe reopening of schools and other public spaces, as well as to ensure the full economic recovery of our nation,” they said.—LBG/AOL, GMA News