A federal lawsuit was filed against the city of Philadelphia for allowing minors as young as 11 years old to “consent” to a COVID vaccine without parental consent. Attorney Tricia Lindsay filed the lawsuit on behalf of seven individual plaintiffs and Children’s Health Defense, a California non-profit. Given the nature of the pandemic, more children have been having encounters with clinics offering the vaccine. The 2007 Regulations Governing the Immunization and Treatment of Newborns, Children and Adolescents Act grants children between the ages of 11-18 the ability to consent to vaccination, as long as they demonstrate that they can provide informed consent.
The lawsuit states that this regulation should be overturned along with the COVID-19 Minor Consent Regulation passed in 2021. The pandemic response and Emergency Use Authorization for vaccines caused clinics to pop up in many locations, such as CVS and Walgreens pharmacies. These are places where children might go inside without their parents, which further allows children access to the COVID-9 vaccines without needing parental consent.
“They go into a store; they are maybe with their friends,” lead Counsel for the plaintiffs, Tricia Lindsay said. “The fact that they have the ability to “consent” to a vaccination without their parents knowing. That’s the problem and it’s removing the parent’s ability to guard their children against any potential harm or danger. It’s removing the parent’s ability and right to determine what is best for their children.”
It’s not only the corporate pharmacy shops like Walgreens and CVS where children might encounter an offer for a COVID-19 vaccine, but also at school.
“You would have things where the district’s doctor would come into the school,” said Lindsay. “They would have these clinics where the doctor could check out the children, give them physicals and things of that nature. If a child goes downstairs to that office and the doctor says, ‘Hey, you’ve never had a COVID vaccine or any other vaccine, would you like to have that today? Here’s a vaccine information sheet. By the way, if you consent today, I’ll give you a certificate to McDonald’s.’ It’s too loosey-goosey, because there’s no way to really determine if that child gave informed consent. How could an 11-year-old understand medical terminology (and) medical consequences that could come from taking a particular vaccine?”
Lindsay clarified that she is not aware of a specific promotion that involves McDonald’s certificates to coerce children into getting a vaccine but is aware of incentives that were provided during the rollout of the Emergency Use COVID-19 vaccines. With or without coercion and/or incentives, there is still very much to be concerned about. Lindsay, as well as the lawsuit complaint, refers to poor literacy in schools as an important reminder that children are not knowledgeable enough to understand the potential consequences of taking a vaccine.
The regulation in question does not interpret what “informed consent” means or require written confirmation that informed consent was given. There is no way to track the number of children that have already received vaccines without parental consent because there is no requirement for the administrator to obtain a signature that informed consent was provided. The regulation removes any liability the administrator has in providing the vaccine since there is no way to verify informed consent was given.
“The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Act (NVICA) requires that parents be given vaccine information sheets,” Lindsay explained. “Parents have to be fully informed about the vaccine’s potential harm (or) injury. There is no vaccine information sheet that I know of that has been simplified into a form that is child-friendly. There’s no way to determine if that child received that sheet because it doesn’t require a signature. The regulation is too loose, it’s too broad, it’s too free. It doesn’t really hold anybody accountable. How do I even know my child was given this information? How do we know the child understands it?”
The lawsuit makes a compelling case that this regulation is unconstitutional in the way it removes parental rights. The lawsuit declares that informed consent and the ability to refuse vaccination is a fundamental right. Lindsay and the plaintiffs demanded a jury trial. They request the court issue a declaratory judgment declaring that the regulation violates the due process clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. Another declaratory judgment is requested to say the regulation conflicts with the NCVIA. The plaintiffs are not requesting compensation other than to recoup costs and attorney fees.
This is not a problem unique to Philadelphia. According to a report by Brian Dean Abramson, Professor of Vaccine Law, 16 states allow minors to make general medical care decisions without parental consent. One case that demonstrates this is the story of Nicholas Montero, who traveled to Philadelphia to get the COVID-19 vaccine without his parent’s consent. Montero kept it secret from his parents and aunts until after receiving his second shot.
“Now you’re gonna have the familial environment is going to be interrupted by outside forces even more,” Lindsay said. “A 16-year-old cannot walk into a liquor store and buy alcohol. They can’t even rent a car. And they can’t even get their driver’s license without the parent’s knowledge and consent. Why are we allowing children as young as 11 to consent to something that’s so vitally important? That can cause them permanent injury? It just doesn’t make sense. That’s how you know there is more to this than what is being reported.”
“In essence, you’re trampling on the constitutional rights of a parent to parent their child,” Lindsay continued. “The child is in their control, in their custody, that’s their child. They are the primary guardian of their children. When the government seeks to interrupt that, it’s tyrannical. That’s a usurping of authority to an area…that the government does not belong in. That’s the problem.”
Updated Monday, November 6, 2023