Should Minors Be Able to Get Vaccinated Without Parental Consent?

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Interviewer 1: 1-800-LAW-1010, Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti on the phone. Good morning Paul.

Interviewer 2: How are you, Paul?

Paul: Okay, good morning, doing great.

Interviewer 1: So on the heels of this kid, I guess, talking before Congress, saying that he defied his parents’ wishes and immunized himself without their consent, there’s now a New York State Assemblywoman, Pat Fahy, am I pronouncing that name correctly, who’s got a bill that would allow minors as young as the age of 14 to receive immunizations without a parent’s consent. I don’t know how that makes parents with the 14-year-olds feel. But I can imagine I would want to have complete control over my 14-year-old, if I were a father. So we wanted to discuss it with you on the legalities, the ins and outs of that kind of thing, especially after the kid last night on NBC, who didn’t get the rabies vaccination and almost died.

Paul: Yeah, it’s gonna be a hot issue. You know, the vaccinations, you got all kinds of information, some it valid, some of it invalid all over the internet. What can happen if you take these vaccinations? So we’ve seen such an uptick in people who have not had their children vaccinated, and with that, we’ve seen outbreaks of the measles and meningitis, and things that we thought were kind of behind us. So right now this bill is just being offered. It certainly hasn’t, you know, advanced to the point where I think it’s near signing, but it would change the face of what rights parents have over the children for vaccination.

Interviewer 2: Is there anything that 14-year-olds are allowed to do without their parents’ consent now? I mean I’m trying to think, I mean, they can’t drive…

Interviewer 1: They can’t vote. They can’t drink.

Interviewer 2: I mean, I feel like they’re opening a real can here. I mean, don’t parents have the right to impose their beliefs on children? Isn’t that a right, Paul?

Interviewer 1: And logistically, how would it even go down? I mean, you got your 14-year-old. What, would they go the clinic or something?

Paul: You know, it’s a great question. I thought about this, but I didn’t think about that. Yeah, there’s very few things that a 14-year-old could do. We think of all the things that parents can’t do to a 14-year-old, you know, again, they’ve got to maintain that they’re safe. They can’t give them alcohol, they can’t give them drugs. But what can a 14-year-old do? And the answer is probably very few things. Parents do have absolute control at that age, and here, what they’re really trying to do is kind of sidestep what they really want. What they really want is everyone to have this vaccination because all the measles. So now they’re saying, “Hey, we’re going to give kids rights,” but you’re right. Practically speaking, how’s the kid, he can’t drive, usually doesn’t have access to much economic component or even where…do kids even know where their insurance card is? Right? Probably not. So, sure, a great point.

Interviewer 2: Think about that. We are heading towards, because Paul, you’re going down the right road. We’re heading towards mandatory vaccinations. What is the government requiring by law, a needle goes into your offspring. Maybe that’s where we’re headed. Isn’t it Paul?

Interviewer 1: With a special number and a bar code.

Interviewer 2: Right. I mean, I’m pro-vaccination. When we were having our first child, I didn’t. I was living in a really hippie town. I did hear a lot of anti-vaccination stuff. But I’m going to side with science on this one.

Interviewer 1: I’m pro-vaccination, I’m just too lazy to figure out what I need. I think I might get that shingles. But, you know, I’ll wait ’til it happens.

Interviewer 2: I mean, I don’t know how you clean this mess up Paul, before it even becomes a mess.

[crosstalk 00:03:24]

Paul: Well, right now there are two exemptions. There’re two that you can have to not have the vaccination. One’s religious and one is medical. And the schools examine each, you know, they’ll get a letter from the doctor or get a letter from the parents about their religious belief, and you know, not need… And so I think it’s a little bit, you’ve got…and I went online and I looked to see how would I, you know, if I wanted my kid not to have a vaccination, what would I do and there are websites you can contact and they give you the exact verbiage that you need to hand in to the school. And so it’s a tricky one.

I think probably what they need is to have better information out there. Maybe clean up what is there because again, everyone’s going to have a desire to have it done one way or the other. But yeah, I mean, it does…you get to feel like we’re living somewhere else that we’re going to just require this. But the flip side if we are back in full-scale measles breakout world, then it doesn’t feel like it’s avoidable.

Interviewer 1: I was throwing cardboard in the middle of the street and break dancing when I was 14. I shouldn’t have been making those decisions.

Interviewer 2: Right. Your parents did it for you.

Interviewer 1: Right.

Interviewer 2: Paul, I saw Jerry Springer’s getting a judge show. Are you hoping to get seated before him?

Paul: It would be, it would certainly be a hallmark of my career. Yeah, if I could [inaudible 00:04:42] Jerry and “Your Honor,” yeah.

Interviewer 2: Judge Jerry. Judge Jerry. I feel like, don’t you have to be a judge to get a judge show?

Interviewer 1: Yeah. I mean is a mayor a judge? He used to be mayor. I don’t know.

Interviewer 2: Whatever works.

Interviewer 1: Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, thank you for joining us. Thanks for talking about this. I don’t know where we’re gonna go.

Interviewer 2: Stick a needle in him. That’s where he’s gonna go. Exactly.

Interviewer 1: It’s 1-800-LAW-1010, PYX 106.