Forum: No parental consent needed for Covid-19 vaccination and phone call was not required

We refer to the letter, "Why was parental consent sought only for second dose?" (Feb 23) from Ms Ravi Sri Dhevi.

She had received a phone call seeking her consent for the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccination to be administered to her son, a full-time national serviceman (NSF) with the Singapore Police Force (SPF).

Our review of this incident found that the phone call was made erroneously to Ms Ravi by a healthcare provider serving at the vaccination centre.

Under the Ministry of Health's guidelines for the Covid-19 vaccination, those under the age of 21 from the uniformed services (for example, SPF and Singapore Civil Defence Force) are to adhere to the prevailing consent-seeking processes set out by their parent organisation.

In this regard, the Ministry of Home Affairs' (MHA) longstanding policy is that individuals aged 18 and above in service with the Home Team may consent to medical treatment, including vaccinations, and do not have to obtain separate consent from their parents or guardians.

Home Team personnel, including NSFs, shoulder serious responsibilities, including maintaining law and order and keeping the country safe and secure. They would possess sufficient maturity and understanding to also appreciate the benefits and risks involved in their own medical treatment, including vaccinations.

This approach is consistent with other processes and matters across the Home Team and in other uniformed services for which consent is needed, and is in line with the guidance provided in the 2016 Singapore Medical Council Handbook on Medical Ethics.

MHA started its vaccination exercise for Home Team officers involved in front-line operations in January. This includes Home Team NSFs who are deployed in front-line vocations.

In line with the above, no parental consent was required for Ms Ravi's son to receive both doses of the Covid-19 vaccination, and the healthcare provider at the vaccination centre was not required to call Ms Ravi.

We regret the inconvenience caused to Ms Ravi and have reminded all healthcare providers of the processes.

Ng Yih Yng (Dr)

Home Team Chief Medical Officer, Ministry of Home Affairs

Vernon Lee (Associate Professor)

Director, Communicable Diseases Division, Ministry of Health

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