Social media claims children could be vaccinated at school without parental consent denied by Genesee County officials
FLINT, MI – Officials say children in schools where the Genesee County Health Department could manage COVID-19 vaccination sites would not be vaccinated without a parent’s written permission and the parent should be present on the site with their child.
In addition, the first COVID-19 vaccines that are expected to be distributed in Genesee County are currently only approved for people 18 years of age and older, according to a press release from the Department of Health on Thursday, December 10.
Health officials and local school districts are explaining their plan after some recent social media posts claimed children could be vaccinated at school without parental consent.
The Informed Choice of Michigan group urges parents not to send their children to school if their child’s district allows the Genesee County Department of Health to have a school-property vaccination site.
Informed Choice of Michigan is a state chapter in alliance with Informed Choice USA. The group says it is working to “fight for medical freedom in Michigan and the right to true informed consent.”
The health department and partner districts say claims that “implied” consent is used on sites rather than written consent are false. The partnership means the health department can work with the district to use district properties for COVID-19 vaccination distribution point sites.
Minors would not be vaccinated without a parent present and granting permission, Suzanne Cupal, a spokeswoman for the county health department, said Thursday (December 10). Any complaint is misleading.
“There is a process going on and clearly adults would come with their minor children in order to be vaccinated,” Cupla said.
People would go through a drive-thru to get vaccinated on school grounds, Cupal said. They wouldn’t be in a school building.
“It wouldn’t have anything to do with kids at school,” Cupal said. “These are what we call ‘open pods’ for the community. They are based in geographic areas, so specific geographic areas would be directed to those groups to get vaccinated. There will likely be other opportunities to get vaccinated, not for schools but for the community. “
The Genesee County Council of Commissioners on Wednesday, December 2 approved a memorandum of understanding with Flint, Davison, Flushing, Grand Blanc, Lake Fenton and Mt. Morris School Districts, provisions that lay the groundwork for the establishment of vaccination modules on school properties.
“The Genesee County Health Department wants to assure the public that when it comes to vaccines children are eligible, standard protocols including the requirement to have the child accompanied by a parent or child. guardian, as well as the written consent of the parent or guardian, are always respected, ”read Thursday in a press release from the health department.
Michigan Medical Director Dr Joneigh Khaldun told a Dec. 1 press conference with Governor Gretchen Whitmer that the state hoped to make the vaccines available to the general public by the end of spring, triggering distribution planning by hospitals, pharmacies and local health services.
The six school districts in Genesee County have already worked with the county to provide distribution sites for the H1N1 flu vaccine, more commonly known as the swine flu.
There is no truth to the implied consent rumors, said Michelle Edwards, spokesperson for Davison Community Schools.
The only way for a student to be vaccinated against COVID-19 is to voluntarily and physically bring their child to the vaccination site, complete and sign the necessary documents with officials in the health department, and receive the vaccine. a public health nurse, Edwards says.
In Davison School District, a student cannot even take an over-the-counter pain reliever for a headache at school without having permission to administer a medication form signed by a parent and doctor, she said. added.
“By agreeing to be a POD site for vaccinations, it means the district is simply offering its facilities,” Edwards said. “The clinics would be staffed and run entirely by officials from the health department.”
Davison’s community schools were a host site when the H1N1 vaccine became available following the H1N1 flu epidemic more than ten years ago. Like that clinic, the plan is for the health department to offer its vaccination clinic after school hours, during spring break or even on a Saturday, Edwards added.
The distribution site will only be used as a community destination for vaccinations. This is not a function of the school district, wrote Andrea Calvert, public relations and communications officer for Grand Blanc Community Schools, in an email to MLive / The Flint Journal, echoing the Department’s statement. health. The only way a student can get vaccinated is for their parent or guardian to make the decision to bring them to the distribution point separately from the school day to get the shot.
“Students will be completely separated from immunization activities and will have nothing to do with using the school as a site for the health department, if in fact students are even on site when immunization clinics are taking place. Calvert said.
Erica Pettinaro, president of Informed Choice Michigan, upheld her recommendation for parents concerned about implied consent to keep their children at home while these clinics are on school grounds.
“Alternatively, parents who cannot keep their children at home should submit a written statement denying their child’s consent to receive immunizations without the presence of a parent or guardian,” Pettinaro wrote in a statement. at MLive / The Flint Journal. “According to the WHO, implied consent occurs when” the physical presence of the child or adolescent, with or without an accompanying parent at the immunization session, is considered to imply consent. This practice is based on the principle of the opt-out and parents who do not consent to the vaccination are implicitly expected to take steps to ensure that their child or adolescent does not participate in the vaccination session. “
The Genesee County Health Department has said it does not intend to implement implied consent at vaccine distribution sites.
As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available to the Genesee County Health Department, the department will display clinic times and locations as well as the priority group that will be eligible to receive the vaccine at that time- the. Information on COVID 19 vaccines and how they will be distributed by priority groups can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.htmle.