Minors need parental consent to get COVID vaccine. What happens when unmarried parents can't agree?

By Rocio Hernandez
Published: Friday, December 3, 2021 - 1:54pm
Updated: Friday, December 3, 2021 - 6:33pm
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Children ages 17 or younger need parental consent in order to receive a COVID-19  vaccine. But the process could become complicated when unmarried parents disagree on the matter.

Family Law Attorney Killu Davis has run into these situations in his practice. A pro-vaccine parent can usually go forward with their plan if they have sole or final authority over medical decisions. But the pro-vaccine parent doesn't have that authority or if an anti-vaccine parent wants to contest that authority or if both parents have equal authority, they would have to sort their differences out with their lawyers or through a judge and argue why their child should or shouldn't get the vaccine, he said.   

“There’s good scientific data out there that touts vaccinations, and so that what the courts have fallen back on and that’s what I can say I have done in my cases where I’ve looked it and said, ‘Hey, there’s nothing out there,’ or ‘This parent is objecting to it for no good reason,’” Davis said.   

Davis has seen judges more often than not be swayed by the evidence in support of vaccines, follow guidelines and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and grant decision-making authority to the pro-vaccine parent. 

“They’re being precautious in this and looking at it and saying that it is in the best interest of minor children to get vaccinated, unless there is some reason why they shouldn’t," Davis said. 

He recommends anti-vaccine parents come to court with documented concerns that are specific to their child. 

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