WASHINGTON — Kids are back in school and COVID-19 cases on the rise in children. Many KREM viewers have asked if a minor needs parental consent to get a vaccine in Washington.
Can a minor can get a non-emergency medical procedure, like a vaccine, without their parents’ consent?
WHAT WE FOUND
Managing attorney for Team Child Dan Ophardt said generally for all vaccines, minors need parental consent. However, there are some exceptions.
The Mature Minor Rule allows healthcare providers to treat minors as adults based on an assessment and documentation of their maturity. The rule was initially created as a result of a 19-67 Washington Supreme Court Case.
Providers must consider a variety of factors that include if the minor lives apart from their parents or guardian, their age and maturity, and if they are financially independent from their parents or guardians.
Ophardt said the Mature Minor Rule is vague and lacks guidance for providers who must decide whether to treat a minor without their parents’ consent.
"But, that is not a whole lot of guidance so as medical providers are being relied upon for a lot of things right now," Ophardt said. "It probably varies as to how confident medical providers are at making that determination on their own.”
In addition to this rule, there is another, more definitive route minors can take to receive a vaccine.
"If a youth, 16 to 17 years old does really want to get a vaccine and doesn’t have parental consent, they could petition to be legally emancipated in court,” Ophardt said.
We can verify that yes, a minor can get vaccinated without their parents’ consent, if a provider determines they meet the requirements outlined in the Mature Minor Rule or if a judge grants their request to be emancipated from their parents.