The province opened COVID-19 vaccine registration to kids 12 and up last Thursday. By Friday, adults were taking proverbial jabs at Dr. Bonnie Henry.
“How can she expect children to give informed consent?” read many posts on social media.
Let’s unpack that line of questioning.
Legally, kids can’t give informed consent. Meanwhile, no one is asking them to. We don’t ask babies if they would consent to be vaccinated against the mumps, measles, rubella or polio — childhood diseases that stalked our grandparents’ generations.
It might be said that adolescents, unlike babies, are perfectly capable of forming their own opinions about what goes in their bodies. Fine.
But we don’t ask B.C. high schoolers if they’d like to be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV), or Hepatitis A and B. Those vaccines aren’t especially controversial at the moment for two reasons: they’re irrelevant to broader conversations about the pandemic and, more importantly, because few adults would quibble about stamping out those horrible, horrible diseases in future generations.
Next, Bonnie Henry isn’t forcing COVID-19 vaccinations on anyone, regardless of age. If you are a parent and you would like to inoculate your child against the novel coronavirus, that’s your right. The converse is also true.
The reality is that the pandemic is a serious health risk, even on Vancouver Island where case numbers are low compared to other regions in British Columbia. Pandemic restrictions are in place because, right now, COVID infection rates are still too high for us to go back to even a semblance of ‘normal.’
The difference between where we are now and where we were when this thing got started is that we have effective vaccines. So, choose what’s best for you and your children.
— Black Press Media