What Are Your Rights: Do Minors Need Parental Consent For the COVID Vaccine?

Recorded on September 29, 2021

With the CDC now recommending all minors 12 and older receive the COVID vaccine – do these children need the consent of their parents to do so?

Managing Partner Paul Harding of Martin, Harding and Mazzotti, LLP is on CBS6 to help answer this question.

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Announcer: The following segment is sponsored by Martin, Harding & Mazzotti.

Interviewer: With the CDC now recommending all minors 12 and older receive the COVID vaccine, we are left wondering if these children need the consent of their parents to do so. Here to help discuss this issue is Managing Partner Paul Harding from the law firm of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti.

Paul, I’m going to jump right into it. Do minors need to obtain the consent of their parents before being vaccinated in the State of New York?

Paul: They do. In fact, they can’t get a vaccination unless their parents do consent. Nor could the medical care provider give the vaccine without seeing that consent, that’d be in violation of New York State law.

Interviewer: Are there any exceptions to this rule and can a minor make the decision to receive the COVID vaccine without the consent of their parent?

Paul: So, the second part of that is no, they can’t. They cannot currently get the vaccine if their parents say, “No, we’re not going to consent to that.” But there are exceptions. Exceptions involve medical conditions that the kids may not want to share with their parents, sexually transmitted diseases. They have a special rule there that says children on the age of 18 can go to the doctor and be treated for that without letting their parents know because they’re doing the math and saying some parents will never find out, kids will never tell them, and we’re going to have sick kids.

Interviewer: So, do both parents have to consent in this situation say, you know, it’s a co-parenting situation?

Paul: Tricky question, but the answer is pretty simple that if you have a divorced family and you’ve got co-parenting, but one parent usually is custodial parent. That’s the parent who’s going to make that medical decision, right? Normally, you just need one parent. If both parents are living with the child, you don’t need two to consent. Even if they do have differing views, if one consents, the vaccine can occur. In a divorce situation, it is going to be the custodial parent making the decision.

Interviewer: The last question. What if your child doesn’t want to be vaccinated, but you as the parent want them to get the vaccine?

Paul: You know, they’re not going to strap down a child to give a vaccination, you know. So, parents say, “Go do it.” The kid says, “I’m not going to do it.” Well, we see that all the time and lots of other things, you know. “Do your homework.” “I’m not doing my homework.” “Don’t go over to Becky’s house.” And he runs out of the house, right? So, here is basically the same situation. They can’t force it, right? They can’t force a child to get that vaccination. They can encourage it, they can get to the doctor’s office, but if there’s resistance there will not be a vaccine being administered.

Interviewer: All right. Paul, thanks so much for answering our questions, obviously, a very interesting topic that is timely at this point. If you’d like to get more information on it, you can head to our website cbs6albany.com.

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