DOH can require mandatory COVID-19 vaccination of school children – Tolentino

DOH can require mandatory COVID-19 vaccination of school children – Tolentino

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA – As the government started its nationwide COVID-19 inoculation
drive for the country’s general population, Senator Francis ‘Tol’ N.
Tolentino believes that the Department of Health (DOH) can require
parents to have their children vaccinated against COVID-19.

In an interview with DZBB, Tolentino said that under Republic Act No.
10152 or the “Mandatory Infants and Children Health Immunization Act”,
the Secretary of Health can determine through a department circular
which type of “vaccine-preventable diseases” can be covered by
mandatory vaccination aside from those listed in the law.

Under Section 3 of RA 10152, the mandatory basic immunization for all
infants and children covers diseases such as Tuberculosis; Diphtheria,
Tetanus and Pertussis; Poliomyelitis; Measles; Mumps; Rubella or
German measles; Hepatitis-B; and Influenza type B.

However, under Section 3(i), other types of vaccine-preventable
diseases can be covered by the said law and “may be determined by the
Secretary of Health in a department circular.”

According to Tolentino, there is no more need to pass a new law to
inoculate children against COVID-19, since the Supreme Court (SC) made
it clear in its 2014 ruling in Imbong v. Ochoa that it is the duty of
the State to protect the welfare of its citizens, and constitutional
provisions protecting the right to health are considered
“self-executory” and need no enabling law.

“Iyon pong probisyon sa ating Saligang Batas tungkol sa kalusugan ay
sapat na po na maging basehan para bakunahan ang mga bata,” said
Tolentino.

Last month, Malacañang finally allowed the vaccination against
COVID-19 of the country’s general population. Several local
governments have already opened pre-registration for teenagers aged 12
to 17 years old after regulatory approvals for emergency use of some
vaccine brands for the above-mentioned age bracket.

Tolentino said this is the right time for the DOH to require parents
or legal guardians to have their children get inoculated, as vaccine
supplies continue to pour in the country.

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