Adolescent Consent to Vaccination in the Age of Vaccine-Hesitant Parents

Adolescent Consent to Vaccination in the Age of Vaccine-Hesitant Parents
Viewpoint
Tony Yang, Robert S. Olick, Jana Shaw
JAMA Pediatrics, 7 October 2019;173(12) pp 1123-112
Excerpt
As children of vaccine-hesitant parents become adolescents, they develop their individual perspectives on vaccination. One of these adolescents, Ethan Lindenberger, researched vaccines, discussed them with trusted adults, and ultimately got vaccinated.1 His testimony to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions made national headlines.1 Many other adolescents are similarly seeking advice on how to get vaccinated. While vaccination against measles and other conditions occurs in early childhood, vaccine-hesitant parents have also refused human papillomavirus vaccination, routinely provided for adolescents beginning at age 11 or 12 years. And they have refused to let their children catch up on any missed early childhood vaccinations. Prior research has shown that adolescents feel generally marginalized in the decision-making process, yet they desire to participate in decisions.2 Their main obstacle to vaccination is that most states require an individual to be 18 years or older to consent to medical procedures.3 We argue for expansion of the rights of adolescents to make their own decisions to be vaccinated against serious and potentially life-threatening diseases without requiring parental consent and involvement…

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