Alabama law says kids 14 and older don’t need parent permission to get COVID vaccine

Do children need parental permission to get COVID vaccine?
Do children need parental permission to get COVID vaccine?
Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 10:34 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Alabama is one of a handful of states where kids 14 and older can make their own medical decisions.

This grants those select teenagers the ability to make their own decision on getting the Pfizer vaccine, no matter what their parent or guardian thinks.

“The rationale for that is if you have a 14-year-old, 15-year-old and they have a parent that will not let them get some kind of medical treatment, the doctor or healthcare professional can explain to them the benefits of that procedure or whatever and the child can consent,” Huntsville lawyer Mark McDaniel said.

Some might wonder why a parent would hold their child back from needed medical treatment, McDaniel says there are all sorts of reasons.

“Either ethical reasons or religious reasons,” he said.

With a controversial topic like COVID-19, there are plenty of differing opinions.

But, McDaniel says there isn’t much a parent could do to prevent their 14-year-old from getting the vaccine.

“The parent could file some kind on injunction, and say ‘We don’t believe in healthcare.’” McDaniel said. “Like the vaccine, ‘We don’t believe in the efficacy of the vaccine, we’re worried about what impact the vaccine could have on our child,’” said McDaniel.

For most families, though, the decision probably won’t come down to differing opinions. That’s the case for Huntsville mom Erin Batrich. She has a 13 and 15-year-old and is hesitant about them getting the vaccine.

“My primary concern with both my 15 and 13-year-old is what it means for them down the road,” Batrich said. “That unknown, the potential ramifications of having that without much history to it, that is my primary concern as a parent.”

Batrich said she and her husband were both excited to get their COVID vaccines and are now happily vaccinated, but she said the decision of her kids getting vaccinated is tougher.

“It was just a lot more straightforward for me,” she said. “When you’re making that decision for your child and down the road, it may impact their lives it certainly harder.”

However, FDA and CDC officials have said they are confident there will not be any dangerous long-term side effects. On the CDC website, researchers say past vaccines similar to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine have all had long-term side effects show up in the first few months. This is not the case with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Batrich said the next step in her family’s vaccine decision-making process will be talking to their doctor and continuing the conversation with her children.

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