BY CAROLYN HENDLER, JD
Republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, & research purposes.
A mother in Washington, DC is suing a doctor for allegedly forcing her teenage daughter and son to receive COVID-19 shots without her informed consent. NaToya McNeil claims that Janine Rethy, MD, MPH, chief of community pediatrics at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, isolated her children in a room in a mobile clinic and refused to let them leave until they were forcibly vaccinated for COVID.1
The children, 14 and 16 years old, were at the mobile clinic for a routine annual check-up. They were given false information about vaccination requirements and were not allowed to leave the room to consult with their mother who was waiting right outside the clinic. The children had informed the doctor that their mother was available and waiting just outside the clinic with their baby brother. However, the doctor apparently made no attempt to contact the mother to obtain her consent to vaccination.
The children were misinformed that if they did not get the COVID shots they would not be able to attend school. The daughter was also injected with the meningococcal vaccine and the son was given the DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) vaccine without their mother’s knowledge or consent. The mother never received a vaccine information statement for any of the products injected into her children prior to the vaccinations being administered by the doctor, which is a violation of a safety provision in the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. The children were not advised how to recognize a vaccine adverse reaction or provided any information about what to do in the event they experienced a reaction.2
The daughter submitted to the doctor’s demand because she was afraid that she would no longer be allowed to attend school. The son reportedly was not even asked whether he wanted the shots at all and was injected without any discussion. He thought he had to get them because he saw that his older sister received them.3
Mother Sues for False Imprisonment, Battery, and Fraud
McNeil is suing the doctor for false imprisonment, battery, and fraud. She is strongly opposed to her children receiving all vaccines, including the COVID shots. The children were also against getting the shots and had already declined them several times in the past.4
I just feel like people shouldn’t be able to do whatever they want to do to other people and especially not to children. As a mother, you just “took all my rights away from me to do what you wanted to do to my kids… To do that to my little children, my innocent children. They took their rights.5
While a COVID vaccine mandate was implemented by the DC City Council for children attending public schools in Washington, D.C. in July 2022, it was rescinded shortly afterward and postponed until the 2023 school year begins.6
Dr. Rethy is strongly pro-vaccine, stating, “Our goal is to increase vaccination rates in children here in DC.”7
Washington, DC Officials Want Minors Vaccinated Without Parents’ Consent or Knowledge
In December 2021, the District of Columbia City Council enacted the Minor Consent for Vaccination Act of 2020 (MCA) permitting minors as young as 11 years old to receive a vaccine recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) without their parent’s consent or knowledge when the provider determines that the child is capable of understanding and exercising informed consent. For purposes of implementing the minor consent law, a doctor can determine that a minor is capable of meeting the informed consent standard if they are “able to comprehend the need for, the nature of, and any significant risks ordinarily inherent in the medical care” and receive an age-appropriate vaccine information sheet at the time of vaccination.”8
The Minor Consent Act prohibits the insurance company from sending an Explanation of Benefits to the child’s home and the provider must send the shot record directly to the school when the child has a religious exemption, or the parents opted out of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in order to prevent a parent from being made aware of their own child’s vaccination status.9 10 If a parent is unaware a child has received vaccinations, the parent cannot monitor the child for signs and symptoms of a vaccine reaction and may delay seeking medical care, which could result in the permanent injury or death of the child.
The chair of the DC Health Committee, Vincent C. Gray, shared that the DC Council quickly passed the Minor Consent Act during the first online reading of the bill without any public testimony because “the hope of an imminent coronavirus vaccine gave the bill new urgency.”11 12
DC Council member and primary sponsor of the bill Mary Cheh explained:
And given our ongoing pandemic and the incredible work being done to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, it’s more important than ever I think that we reduce any and all barriers to these treatments and this legislation aims to do just that by increasing access to vaccines for minors who choose to get vaccinated but have not been able to do so.13 14
Minor Children Were Not Meant to Make Vaccination Decisions by Themselves
The 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (“The Act”) passed by Congress never intended that minor children would be making vaccination decisions for themselves. Vaccine safety informing, recording and reporting provisions included in that historic law were specifically designed to give parents more information about vaccines so they can help prevent vaccine injuries and deaths. The 1986 Act stipulates that a health care provider must give a copy of vaccine information published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is known today as the Vaccine Information Statement (VIS), to the “parent or legal representative of any child to whom the provider intends to administer such vaccine.”15 The CDC has confirmed on its website that the vaccine information is to be provided to the parent or legal guardian for review before the child is vaccinated.16
Adolescents do not have the physical, mental, or emotional development to make a well-reasoned decision in healthcare matters that involve risk including death.17 Adolescents also do not have the financial means to seek medical intervention should they have an adverse reaction to vaccination. All vaccinations pose a risk of injury and death as evidenced by the establishment of the federal government’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) which has paid out approximately nearly $5 billion to those injured by vaccines.18 19
DC Continues the Push to Vaccinate Minors Without Parental Consent
The MCA was struck down by a DC court in March 2022 when two parents brought suit against the Mayor of Washington, DC alleging that the MCA violated their constitutional and statutory rights and that the MCA is preempted by federal law. Judge Trevor McFadden found, among other factors, that the MCA conflicts with vaccine safety provisions in the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986.
In place of the MCA, the DC Council enacted the Consent for Vaccinations of Minors Emergency Amendment Act of 2022 (“Emergency Vaccination of Minors Act”) as an emergency measure in June 2022. The Emergency Vaccination of Minors Act allows an emancipated minor child, a married or previously married minor child, a pregnant minor child, a homeless minor child, or any minor child who is separated from and not supported by her parents or guardian for any reason to get any vaccine recommended by the ACIP without parental knowledge or consent if the parent cannot be immediately contacted.20
The Emergency Vaccination of Minors Act further provides that a vaccine provider may vaccinate any and all minors, including a minor not falling into one of the above categories, as long as a reasonable attempt is made to obtain parental consent to vaccination by telephone, writing or in person. All that is required is an undefined “reasonable attempt” to reach the parent or legal guardian for the provider to be justified in giving a vaccine to a child. Consent to vaccination may be assumed by the vaccine provider should a reasonable attempt to notify the parent or legal guardian has been made.21
While the Consent for Vaccinations of Minors Emergency Amendment Act of 2022 has expired, the Consent for Vaccination of Minors Amendment Act of 2022 with the same provisions went into effect on Mar. 10, 2023.22
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Click here to view References:
1 Stieber Z. Mother Sues Doctor Who Allegedly Administered COVID-19 Vaccines to Children Without Consent. The Epoch Times Mar. 8, 2023.
2 McNeil v. Rethy D.C. Sup. Ct. 2023.
3 Ellefson M. Doctor Sued for Illegally Forcing Vaccine on Children. WSAU Mar. 8, 2023.
7 Stieber Z. Mother Sues Doctor Who Allegedly Administered COVID-19 Vaccines to Children Without Consent. The Epoch Times Mar. 8, 2023.
8 D.C. Law 23-193 § 2(a).
9 D.C. ACT23-532. Dec. 23, 2020.
10 Booth v. Bowser. 21-cv-01857. Mar. 18, 2022.
11 Zaumer J. D.C. council approves bill allowing children t get vaccines without parent’s consent. The Washington Post Oct. 20, 2020.
12 Richardson D. DC Bill B23-0171 Allowing Children 11 Years and Older to Be Vaccinated Without Parental Knowledge or Consent Advances. The Vaccine Reaction. Oct. 26, 2020.
13 Council of the District of Columbia. Virtual Health Committee Meeting. Oct. 7, 2020.
14 Richardson D. DC Bill B23-0171 Allowing Children 11 Years and Older to Be Vaccinated Without Parental Knowledge or Consent Advances. The Vaccine Reaction. Oct. 26, 2020.
15 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Instructions for Using VISs. Feb. 4, 2022.
16 CDC. Frequently Asked Questions. Apr. 5, 2019.
17 Grootens-Wiegers, P. Hein, I.M., van den Broek, J. et al. Medical decision-making in children and adolescents: developmental and neuroscientific aspects. BMC Pediatr May 8, 2017; 17: 120.
18 HRSA. Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) Data and Statistics. Mar. 1, 2023.
19 Oppose B24-0942: Allows Some Minors to Consent to Vaccines & Allows Providers to Vaccinate Minors After Failed Attempt to Obtain Consent. NVIC Advocacy Mar. 10, 2023.
20 B24-0942 Consent for Vaccinations of Minors Amendment Act of 2022. LIMS.
22 Oppose B24-0942: Allows Some Minors to Consent to Vaccines & Allows Providers to Vaccinate Minors After Failed Attempt to Obtain Consent. NVIC Advocacy Mar. 10, 2023.