In many states, minors may consent to receive COVID-19 shot even without parent’s knowledge
A District Administration survey conducted just before the FDA’s authorization for 12-15-year-olds to receive the COVID-19 shot found that only 3 in 10 parents said they would vaccinate their children right away, with most instead wanting to wait and see, or saying they would not get their child vaccinated at all or would do so only if required for school.
However, with the authorization of Pfizer’s shot for 12-15-year-olds, a group that totals almost 17 million, minors can consent to receive the COVID-19 shot even without the parent’s knowledge in many states.
The age at which a minor can consent to receive the experimental biological agent in Alabama is age 14; in San Francisco, 12; Philadelphia, 12; North Carolina, 11; South Carolina, 16. America’s Frontline Doctors (AFLDS) Legal Director Ali Schultz explained: “They can all consent, minors can consent, on their own, even if they live with their mom and dad who are married, they live with their parents, no issues, the child literally can consent at school to receive the vaccine, without the parents even knowing.”
She continued: “We’ve had so many people reach out, and they were just heartbroken, they cannot believe that their child was able to get this without them even knowing, because as parents they were personally against the vaccine, and no-one even ran it by them.
“And what’s even scarier: It’s up to the health care provider, in a multitude of states; Iowa, Idaho, Washington, Arkansas; so if a ‘health care provider’ deems that it is appropriate for a minor to get the vaccine, then they can do so without parental consent.”
According to District Administration, although most states still require parental consent, “the landscape may be shifting slightly as more jurisdictions seek to encourage vaccination of young people.” Their specific findings are as follows:
- Most states (41) require parental consent for vaccination of minors below the age of 18, although one of these states (NE) requires consent below age 19. There are some exceptions to these requirements:
- Many allow for certain minors, such as those who are emancipated, homeless or living apart from their parent or guardian, or married, to self-consent.
- Cities in two states (San Francisco in CA and Philadelphia in PA), have moved to allow minors, ages 12 and older, to self-consent for COVID-19 vaccination.
- In one state (AZ), if a parent refuses to consent for COVID-19 vaccination, but if a child or a doctor requests it, a court order can be obtained to allow for vaccination.
- In 5 states, a minor’s ability to self-consent is based on a specific age as follows:
- Two states where a minor must be at least 16 (RI and SC)
- One state where a minor must be at least 15 (OR)
- One state where a minor must be at least 14 (AL)
- One state where a minor must be at least 11 (DC; in DC, each healthcare provider may institute additional requirements which could include requiring a parent or guardian to be present).
- The remaining 5 states apply the “mature minor doctrine”, meaning that there is no specific age cut-off but providers have discretion to decide if a minor possesses the maturity to consent for themselves (AR, ID, NC, TN, WA).
- This means that parental consent has already been required for 16-17 year-olds in most states (41) since the initial authorization of the Pfizer vaccine on December 11, 2020. Two additional states require consent for some subset of 12-15 year-olds, bringing the count to 43 states where most minors in this age group would need parental consent. Once the next group of children is eligible for vaccination, those below age 12, this number will grow to 45.
National Vaccine Information Center‘s Barbara Loe Fisher commented on the “shifting landscape”: “This past year, we have seen many lawmakers in the U.S. and other countries vote to eliminate or severely restrict civil liberties in the name of the public health. One of the most outrageous legislative actions violating parental and human rights took place in Washington, D.C. in November 2020 when City Council officials gave doctors the power to vaccinate children as young as 11 years old and hide what they did from parents. The D.C. Mayor refused to veto the bill and, in January 2021, the U.S. Congress sat on its hands and gave tacit approval to enactment of the most dangerous child vaccination law in America.”
She continued: “In a breathtaking violation of medical ethics and several federal laws, the new vaccine concealment law in Washington, DC allows doctors to extract “informed consent” from young children too immature to know what informed consent means or what a vaccine reaction looks and feels like. The D.C. City Council majority, with only three members dissenting, cruelly disempowered parents by voting to make it illegal for a doctor, insurance company or school administrator to divulge a child’s vaccination history in records that can be seen by the child’s mother or father.
“An 11-year old child does not know or understand his or her personal health history but most parent do. If a child has experienced previous vaccine reactions, has severe allergies or other health conditions that could increase vaccine risks, parents kept in the dark will not have a way to protect their child from further harm.
“Parents who don’t know which vaccines their children have been given will not be able to monitor them for signs of a potentially life-threatening vaccine reaction that requires immediate medical treatment. If the child is injured or dies after vaccination, parents will not know they must apply to the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) before the filing deadline expires.
“Parents will not know their insurance company has been billed for vaccines. Parents will not know that a school the child attends is in possession of their child’s secret vaccination records even when there is a vaccine exemption for religious belief reasons on file with the school.
“This blatant violation of a parent’s moral right and legal responsibility to make medical risk decisions on behalf of a minor child was endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics22 and pushed through by the DC City Council, while the Mayor and the US Congress looked the other way.”
She concluded: “The Universal Declaration of Bioethics and Human Rights states that:
“The interests and welfare of the individual should have priority over the sole interest of science or society;” and “For persons who are not capable of exercising autonomy, special measures are to be taken to protect their rights and interests;” and “Any preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic medical intervention is only to be carried out with the prior, free and informed consent of the person concerned, based on adequate information.”
“It is a profound betrayal of public trust for any city, state or federal government to strip parents of their God given right to protect their children from harm by allowing a doctor to give a child a pharmaceutical product without getting a parent’s permission. Science is not perfect, doctors are not infallible, and pharmaceutical products like vaccines come with risks that can be greater for some individuals than others, which is why parents must retain the human right to exercise informed consent to medical risk taking on behalf of their minor children.
“Will the vaccine concealment bill that is now law in Washington, DC be exported to your state next?”
Mercury News provided the list of where parental or guardian consent is now generally required for COVID-19 vaccinations among people ages 12 to 15, based on a CNN query to health departments across all 50 states:
- Alabama — Yes for younger than 14
- Alaska — Yes
- Arizona — Yes
- Arkansas — Yes
- California — Yes
- Colorado — Yes
- Connecticut — Yes
- Delaware — Yes
- Florida — Yes
- Georgia — Yes
- Hawaii — Yes
- Idaho — Yes
- Illinois — Yes
- Indiana — Yes
- Iowa — “It is up to each individual health care provider/health system”
- Kansas — Yes
- Kentucky – Yes
- Louisiana — Yes
- Maine — Yes
- Maryland — Yes
- Massachusetts — Yes
- Michigan — Yes
- Minnesota — Yes
- Mississippi — Yes
- Missouri — Yes
- Montana — Yes
- Nebraska — Yes
- Nevada — Yes
- New Hampshire — Yes
- New Jersey — Yes
- New Mexico — Yes
- New York — Yes
- North Carolina — No for teens
- North Dakota — Yes
- Ohio — Yes
- Oklahoma — Yes
- Oregon — Yes for younger than 15
- Pennsylvania — Yes
- Rhode Island — Yes
- South Carolina — Yes
- South Dakota — Yes
- Tennessee — Yes for younger than 14
- Texas — Yes
- Utah — Yes
- Vermont — Yes
- Virginia — Yes
- Washington — Yes
- West Virginia — Yes
- Wisconsin — Yes
- Wyoming — Yes
Additionally, some private businesses or pharmacies have their own rules.
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