With legal assistance from PAO, RTC applied to freeze Covid-19 vaccination for children

A PETITION has been filed in the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) seeking the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to stop the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination program covering children aged five to 11, or the so-called pediatric group, which was supposed to start today Friday, but was pushed back to February 7, Monday.

The petitioners – Dominic Almelor and Girlie Samonte – sought the assistance of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) led by its Chief Persida Acosta in filing the petition which also sought to declare Department of Health Memorandum No. 2022-0041 unconstitutional (DOH). Interim Guidelines for the Management and Administration of the Tozinameran Covid-19 mRNA (Nucleoside Modified) Vaccine (Cominarty) Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine to Pediatric Population Aged 5 to 11 Years Old.

Almelor said he was deposing the petitioner as the father of a seven-year-old child, while Samonte is the mother of two minors in the pediatric group.

The PAO said both parents are concerned for the safety and health of their children given that the Covid-19 vaccines are only receiving Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and are still in the experimental stage.

He noted that Samonte is one of the plaintiffs in criminal lawsuits filed against former and current health officials and Dengvaxia vaccine makers after her son suffered from illnesses that allegedly emerged after receiving the dengue vaccine. .

“It is because of her personal experience with her son’s case…that Girlie does not want her children to be inoculated with a Covid-19 vaccine,” PAO said.

Both parents lamented that under Republic Act 11525 or the Covid-19 Immunization Program Act, those responsible for implementing the program would be immune from suit and liability. .

The petitioners also complain about the DOH’s provision of the interim guidelines that allow the state to act as “parens patriae” (father of the people) and provide necessary consent in the event the parent or guardian refuses. to give consent to vaccination despite the wish and desire of the minor child to be vaccinated, or there are no persons who can legally exercise parental authority over the child.

According to the petitioners, the said provision was pronounced with a serious abuse of power because it withdraws the consent of the parents or guardians of the children without any legal basis.

The petitioners noted that there is still no law requiring compulsory vaccination against Covid-19.

“It should be further clarified that this petition does not intend to defame or trivialize the efforts of governments and nations, as well as scientists, doctors and healthcare workers here and abroad. , to curb the Covid-19 pandemic. More so, this petition in no way seeks to downplay the global pandemic and encourage the unnecessary spread of Covid-19,” the petitioners said.

“What this motion is asking of this Honorable Court is simply the protection of a very vulnerable population from undue health risks and deadly consequences, given that Covid-19 vaccines are relatively new and do not in fact immunize not recipients against Covid-19; and respect for the parental authority of parents/guardians over their children in matters affecting their children’s interests, well-being, health, safety and life,” reads the petition.

The petitioners said there was an urgent need for the court to issue a TRO against vaccinating the pediatric group given the “clear and present” danger the program poses to children.

“Even a single dose of an experimental Covid-19 vaccine can cause irreparable damage to a child’s health and life. It can lead to serious illness, permanent disability or, worse, death; there is therefore has an urgent and continuing necessity for the writ to prevent serious harm,” the petitioners said.

Specifically, the petitioners said the DOH memorandum violates Section 15, Article II of the 1987 Constitution on the right to health care, especially of children five to 11 years old.

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