Media Release – PM’s advice conflicts with Health Ministry on parental consent

Media Release 23 August 2021

Family First NZ is calling on the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to clear up confusing and contradictory advice being received by families about parental consent for vaccines for children as young as 12.

The Ministry of Health website says that “as a 12 to 15-year-old, your parent or guardian’s permission is not required if your health care provider is confident you are deemed competent to give consent” and that “if you have a good understanding, you can say yes to getting the vaccine/provide your own informed consent.” (our emphasis added)

However, last Thursday, Jacinda Arden saidTomorrow morning parents and caregivers who are eligible for their vaccines will also be able to book their 12 to 15-year-old at the same time, but if you’ve already booked, just bring them in. My message to parents who will need to provide consent is that I would not be part of a process in approving this unless I believed this was safe.”

These two statements are clearly contradictory, and parents deserve certainty on where they stand. Public health and governmental messaging should be working in tandem with parents and persuading them about the importance of any health procedure – not working against them behind their back. The issue is not vaccinations per se – it is the erosion of parental responsibility and authority. It undermines the family dynamic which is essential for young people’s development.

It is important to note that Family First supports the vaccination roll-out, but says that it is vital that the programme is accompanied by informed consent, freedom of conscience, and that it respects parental responsibility.

“Medical professionals that we have spoken to say that the Ministry of Health advice is bizarre, and that most health professionals would be loathe to inject a 12-15 year old without parental consent. Medically, if the young person had some side effect and the parent was unaware of the vaccine administration, it could be serious and delay proper treatment. Good health professionals will want to work with the family, not against their informed consent.”

Family First will be writing to the Prime Minster asking for urgent clarification.

For More Information and Media Interviews, contact Family First.

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