Wednesday 21 April 2021
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todayonline - 2 month ago

Parental consent for Covid-19 jabs not needed for Home Team NSFs under 21: MHA, MOH

SINGAPORE — Full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) in the Singapore Police Force and the Singapore Civil Defence Force do not need parental consent before receiving Covid-19 vaccine shots, two government ministries said. The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Home Affairs issued a joint statement on Monday (March 1) responding to TODAY’s queries regarding an incident of a mother receiving a call from a healthcare provider requesting her consent to carry on with the second dose of vaccination for her son, who is an NSF with the police. The mother had written to the media, including The Straits Times’ forum, about the incident, asking why her consent had not been sought for the first dose. MOH and MHA said the phone call she received before her son’s second dose had been made erroneously by a healthcare provider serving at the vaccination centre. “No parental consent was required in this case,” said the ministries. More than 26,000 frontliners from the Home Team have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine as part of the MHA’s vaccination exercise that began on Jan 11. As of Feb 26, around 20,000 have received their second dose. Officers involved in frontline healthcare operations are prioritised for the vaccination — including the SCDF’s paramedics, the Home Team Medical Services Division staff, Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX) officers, as well as officers in the Singapore Prison Service. They are given priority as their work requires them to be in constant contact with individuals who may be infected. MOH’s Covid-19 vaccination guidelines for persons who are younger than 21 and are from the uniformed services, which also includes those in the Singapore Armed Forces, are to follow “prevailing consent-seeking processes set out by their parent organisation”. MHA’s 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, said the statement. “This is because Home Team personnel, including NSFs, shoulder serious responsibilities, including maintaining law and order and keeping the country safe and secure. Home Team officers would possess sufficient maturity and understanding to also appreciate the benefits and risks involved in their own medical treatment, including vaccinations,” said the two ministries. Such an approach is consistent with other processes by uniformed services for which consent is needed, the statement added. MHA’s position that NSFs do not need parental consent for Covid-19 jabs is also consistent with guidelines stated in the 2016 Singapore Medical Council (SMC) Handbook on Medical Ethics. The SMC guidelines state that “despite it being standard practice that consent for minors (under 21) is taken from parents or legal guardians, (healthcare providers) must give consideration to the opinions of minors who are able to understand and decide for themselves.”


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