AFIPN has learnt of a heartbreaking story after a mother reached out to us to share her story.
The mother and father were separated and had recently had a conversation about vaccinating their eight-year-old daughter. Both agreed that until further research was available to show long-term safety in children that they would put off getting the vaccination.
The mother also had a conversation with her daughter and informed her she would not be getting the vaccination.
On the 3rd of February 2022 the stepmother of the child took her two children to a vaccination clinic in Murray Bridge, South Australia to be vaccinated. Her stepdaughter was taken along to the clinic. The stepdaughter decided that she wanted to be vaccinated after she was told by her stepbrother that she would miss out on doing lots of fun things with her stepmother and stepbrothers if she did not get the vaccination.
As the girl was not old enough to give consent the administrating nurse asked the stepmother is she was her legal guardian, which she replied that she was the stepmother and that the stepdaughter lived with her 9 out of 14 nights and she has permission.
The biological mother of the girl has put a formal complaint into the vaccination clinic and has received back a written response.
The response included an apology.
“I wish to apologise for any distress to you or your family”
The letter went on to confirm that the stepmother had signed an authority form, and then explained more on Guardianship arrangements
“Guardianship arrangements can be complicated, and it is not uncommon that biological parents do not have decision making authority over their children. For this reason, our clinic follows the relevant SA Health policy which requires staff to ask whether an adult has legal authority to consent on behalf of a child, and that this is clearly documented.”
“The Registered Nurse who administered the vaccination to (Child) did ask for clarification prior to administering the vaccine and recalls that (Stepmother) indicated that she was (Child) legal guardian and could provide legal consent. I can confirm that (Stepmother) signed a consent form on behalf of (Child)”.
“However, upon reviewing this case it was noted that (Stepmother) did not fully complete the consent form and omitted both the Medicare number and her relationship to (Child). The form should have been completed in full prior to the vaccination.”
“As a result, the Registered Nurse has received further education and all of our clinic staff have received a reminder to check the consent forms are fully completed prior to administering a vaccination.”
AFIPN has kept all names confidential at the request of the mother and upon legal advice we will not be naming the clinic involved.