The GPS government is very happy that most adult Sarawakians have been vaccinated against Covid-19.
Now, the state government is planning to vaccinate children between 12 to 17 years old. Our problem is although vaccinated, there is no guarantee that the vaccinated person will not be a carrier or will not contract the virus. According to WHO/Europe’s Siddhartha Sankar Datta, Regional Adviser on Vaccine-preventable Diseases and Immunization on 30.06.2021 “…it’s important to stress that no vaccine provides 100% protection against COVID-19.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises vaccinated people to wear masks indoors in areas of substantial or high transmission. CDC also said vaccinated persons are contributing to spread in some situations – see Nebraska Medicine July 28, 2021.
A case was referred to me two days ago that after two doses of Sinovac vaccines some weeks ago, the person although tested negative by two Kuching private hospitals, was found positive for Covid-19 by a private hospital, when she was about to travel overseas on the same day.
Therefore, the effectiveness of vaccines in the market may be in doubt and a vaccinated person can still contract the virus and be a carrier.
Although the government is not making it mandatory for the vaccination but the fear of contracting the virus had made citizens queue up at vaccination centers for the vaccines. Citizens are required to sign a consent form before being allowed for vaccination.
Maybe, notwithstanding a consent form been signed by the taker of vaccine, there is a need to take the government to court as a test case, to find out, whether the government could be liable for ineffective vaccines.
Issues such as the validity of the consent form and whether there should be a necessity for government doctors as a precaution to person’s safety, to practise, “responsible vaccination” should be laid bare in court for decision.
Some lawyers doubt that the consent form signed by the citizens before being allowed vaccinations to disclaim liability by the authorities could be valid. They opined that if mere consent been given, this could not help the authorities to disclaim liability against the ineffectiveness of the vaccines or against side effects including deaths.
To these lawyers, it must be based on informed consent, not mere consent. It is not sure whether the consent given by citizens for vaccination is a mere consent or an informed consent. For informed consent there are certain procedures that medical practitioners must follow to discharge liability.
Voon Lee Shan
Parti Bumi Kenyalang
25 August, 2021