Legal consent to vaccination in Quebec

Legal consent to vaccination in Quebec

LEGALLY SPEAKING: Here is the fourth in a series of legal columns by Quebec law firm  Joli-Cœur Lacasse Avocats.
Aussi disponible en français ici.

Me Maude Bureau, avocat.

Me Maude Bureau, avocate.

By Me Maude Bureau, avocate.

Every year, when we begin to feel the cold, government and healthcare institutions launch their major campaigns to promote vaccination against influenza, or ‘flu’. In addition, at a child’s birth, health professionals educate new parents about the importance of their child receiving the recommended vaccines such as tetanus, poliomyelitis, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).

These interventions may suggest that vaccination is compulsory in Québec. However, vaccination is not mandatory, but this is a simple recommendation (1).

Vaccination is subject to the same legal rules as any other healthcare a person may receive. Article 24 C.c.Q provides that consent to vaccination must be of free will, well-informed and given in writing because this is a care not required by the state of health.

When obtaining consent, the disclosure of information by the healthcare professional is more important than in the case of care required for health, since vaccination is considered preventive care. Therefore, the healthcare professional, doctor or nurse, must explain not only the risks and benefits of the vaccine, but also the risks that you may incur if you refuse the vaccination.

Risks disclosed must then include, in addition to the most common risks, the more uncommon ones. When you consent to the vaccination, you must not come under any pressure from your loved ones, medical personnel or your doctor.

You must make this choice on your own, no one can force you.

With regard to children, a minor under 14 years of age can only receive the vaccination if his parent or the parental authority gives consent.

A minor 14 years and older can, in turn, accept or refuse a vaccination, without his parents’ intervention.

If you would like further information on this topic or want to ascertain your rights following the occurrence of side effects or prejudice related to vaccination, please do contact us.

Before each vaccination, we suggest you request all relevant information and find out about the risks and possible side effects, because after all, this is your health!

(1) Except for a sanitary emergency as designed into the Public Health Act .

The masculine form is used merely to simplify the text. No discrimination is intended.

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Bureau de Montréal
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