Half of U.S. Teens Plan to Get COVID Shot — Can Numbers Go Higher?


By Dennis Thompson

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, July 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Vaccine advocate Ethan Lindenberger, now 20, needed to wait till age 18 to get the vaccinations that he knew he wanted to guard his well being.

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“I knew growing up my mom was very anti-vaccine. Because of the legal restrictions, I really wasn’t trying to fight her on getting me vaccinated,” Lindenberger recalled. “She believed vaccines could kill me, and so it was not going to be an easy time.”

Kids like Lindenberger face the identical dilemma within the coronavirus pandemic, with strain mounting to get as many individuals as potential vaccinated to achieve herd immunity in opposition to the brand new coronavirus. A survey performed in April discovered 52% of American teenagers saying they’d prefer to get the photographs.

But in lots of circumstances, their mother and father might not assist that call.

That’s why some specialists are actually arguing that states ought to revisit parental consent necessities for vaccines, and permit teenagers to make their very own selection with regards to immunizations.

Many teenagers “understand the biology. They understand the risks and benefits. And they may have parents who don’t,” mentioned Dominic Sisti, director of the Scattergood Program for the Applied Ethics of Behavioral Health Care on the University of Pennsylvania.

“We want to give those teens a chance to be protected. They shouldn’t have to wait until they’re 18 to do the right thing,” Sisti mentioned.

In a latest opinion piece within the journal JAMA Pediatrics, Sisti and others made the case that youngsters as younger as 12 must be allowed to decide on for themselves to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Their argument comes because the United States reaches yet one more turning level within the pandemic saga, with the speedy unfold of the extremely infectious Delta variant.

Teen vaccinations are wanted to assist your entire nation stem the unfold of the Delta variant, as out there vaccines have been proven to guard even in opposition to the brand new variant.

But a survey launched earlier this month discovered that solely 56% of fogeys who’ve unvaccinated teenagers plan to allow them to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The survey appeared within theMorbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, revealed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


“These adolescents, these young adults almost, ought not be placed in a situation where they are placed in preventable risk,” Sisti mentioned.

Sisti and his colleagues argue {that a} handful of states already permit minors to consent to immunizations that may make mother and father uncomfortable, reminiscent of for sexually transmitted infections like human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis B.

Some states even permit minors to consent to any medical intervention, together with vaccines, they added.

According to Larissa Morgan, former editor-in-chief of The Regulatory Review on the University of Pennsylvania’s Carey Law School, “What we’re proposing is pretty much aligned with what some states have done, in terms of other vaccines. Minors in some states are allowed to consent to different health services that are quite individualized and don’t even affect public health, whereas this is something that has an extraordinary impact on public health,” she mentioned of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Sisti and Morgan mentioned minors aged 12 to 14 must be allowed to consent to vaccination with assist and facilitation from their medical doctors or different trusted adults of their lives. Parents must be notified, until notification would pose a threat to the kid.

Teens 15 and older ought to be capable to get vaccinated with out both parental consent or notification, they added, stating that the legislation usually acknowledges age 14 because the time the place creating younger minds develop into in a position to interact in competent grownup decision-making.

“The COVID vaccine being so high benefit and so low risk makes a very compelling case for allowing adolescents to do what is in their best interest when their parents are failing to do so,” Sisti mentioned. “As a society, I think we need to protect kids whose parents aren’t up to speed or well-educated about the safety and efficacy of vaccines.”

Withholding notification may be an essential step in defending youngsters who select to go in opposition to their people and get the vaccine.

Lindenberger famous that some teenagers threat rather a lot in defying their mother and father to guard their very own well being.

“If you are worried about serious consequences — your parents not trusting you, your parents taking away your phone or kicking you out — those are serious concerns for some young people,” Lindenberger mentioned, advising youngsters about speaking to their mother and father. “Maybe wait and weigh those consequences seriously. It’s not as easy as ‘Go get vaccinated, and then deal with it later.'”


The COVID-19 vaccination price amongst teenagers additionally may very well be boosted by permitting college nurses to manage vaccines, putting in vaccine navigators to assist teenagers discover the jab they need, and even by having large-scale vaccine drives at native colleges, Sisti and Morgan mentioned.

The aim of all this is able to be “making it as easy as possible so they can access the vaccination in a way that is safe for them and confidential,” Sisti mentioned.

More info

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has extra about COVID-19 vaccines for children and teens.

SOURCES: Dominic Sisti, PhD, director, Scattergood Program for the Applied Ethics of Behavioral Health Care, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Larissa Morgan, JD, editor-in-chief, The Regulatory Review, University of Pennsylvania’s Carey Law School, Philadelphia; JAMA Pediatrics, July 12, 2021; Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, July 9, 2021

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