Parents in some schools in the Western Cape are up in arms after a circular on vaccination against COVID-19 was sent to school principals.

The provincial education department, in a June 8 memorandum, apparently told principals that 12-year-old students can be vaccinated without parental consent if the student shows interest.

It also states that schools will be used as vaccination points.

The Red List, a COVID-19 education group, has sent a memorandum to provincial education and health departments about vaccination complaints.

The letter provides instructions for the vaccination rollout in partnership with the provincial Department of Health.

A parent at the Claremont school, Liesel James, says the correspondence says consent forms must be signed by parents, but students can continue without parental consent.

“My children go to school in Claremont. We have been notified that there will be a vaccination campaign at the school and we have received a consent form. However, no adverse reactions to the vaccine were reported in the consent form. It’s basically saying you give permission, basically because I did my research, I signed a consent form that they don’t have the right to touch my kids.”

Parents say the consent form is basic and doesn’t provide full information about possible vaccine side effects and liability.

Red List spokeswoman Samantha Hodgson says they want the department to withdraw the circular.

“What makes us angry is informed consent. There is no informed consent. It is your constitutional right to be informed, and in fact section 12 of the constitution clearly states that this is also against the Nuremberg Code on the need for informed consent.’

Provincial Health Minister Namafrench Mbomba says this is a continuation of the national vaccine programme.

“What I love is that communities continue to ask questions. They continue to challenge because it’s not just the science that we need to know, but what the community is concerned about that we need to stop and regroup and provide some answers.”

The provincial board of education says no student will be vaccinated without signed parental consent.

Meanwhile, The Red List group says it will continue its campaign against vaccinating 12-year-olds against COVID-19.

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