A Kiwi mum is urging vaccinators to remember their obligation to parents after her 11-year-old daughter was vaccinated without her consent.
On Tuesday, Lisa Stokes' 23-year-old daughter was heading to the Unichem Pharmacy in Thames to receive her booster vaccination dose.
Seeing an opportunity, Stokes sent her 11-year-old along with the hope she would be given her first Covid-19 vaccination.
Busy at work and unable to go with them, Stokes expected pharmacy staff would either call her to get consent or refuse to vaccinate the 11-year-old without a parent present.
Consent from a legal guardian is required to vaccinate any child aged under 12.
According to the Unite Against Covid-19 website, if the adult accompanying the child is not the child's legal guardian, the vaccinator must verbally confirm consent by phone with a legal guardian, or the adult must bring a signed copy of the Covid-19 vaccination consent form, completed by a guardian.
However, the pharmacy's vaccinator asked for neither and after taking the child's personal information, including her date of birth, proceeded to administer Pfizer's paediatric dose.
Stokes, who assumed the vaccination hadn't happened when she wasn't called, was floored when her older daughter told her otherwise.
"I was shocked," she told the NZ Herald.
"The realisation hit that gosh, how many times might this happen?"
The next morning, Stokes contacted the pharmacy and spoke with owner Anas Wadood who promised to investigate the matter.
Wadood called Stokes back later that morning, acknowledged there had been an oversight and apologised.
Asked why the vaccine was administered without consent, Wadood reportedly told her the vaccinator had assumed her older sister was a legal guardian.
"There wasn't a heck of lot [Wadood] could say, there's no taking it back, what's done is done," Stokes said.
"Thankfully, I had every intention of vaccinating my daughter so it wasn't a train-smash, but it's really concerning because I am a big believer in people having the right to make their own decision."
It is understood a staff meeting was held after the incident to reiterate the necessary protocol when administering vaccinations to children.
Wadood initially acknowledged the oversight when contacted by the Herald, but refused to comment further.
Stokes, who was vaccinated and confident it would give her protection against Covid-19, firmly believed parental consent was essential before vaccinating children.
"It's our fundamental right to make an informed decision [for] your child."
Acknowledging this situation wouldn't have happened had she been at the pharmacy, Stokes encouraged parents to attend appointments with their children.
Of the pharmacy - one of the few vaccination providers in the area - Stokes recognised its contribution to the community but urged staff to remember the responsibility their role entailed.
"I'm very grateful for the work that they're doing and I know that they're a huge part of our community, but please be so vigilant with other people's children."