Vaccination of teens against parental consent is “ethically acceptable”: expert


research Vaccination of teenagers over the age of 12 who are requesting the COVID-19 vaccine without the consent of their parents, conducted by the Royal Children’s Hospital, University of Melbourne, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, is “ethical. Is acceptable. ” ..

Traditionally, even high school students need parental consent to vaccinate their children. If this consent is withheld, vaccine providers are usually reluctant to vaccinate and fear legal consequences or complaints against them.

However, the federal and state governments have developed a practical framework that allows practitioners to treat mature minors without parental consent.

Professor John Massy of the University of Melbourne said he and his colleagues interpreted that it was ethically acceptable for vaccine providers to vaccinate young people from the age of 12 who requested the vaccine.

“This recommendation also affects other situations, such as when unvaccinated adolescents in unvaccinated families who dislike vaccines seek catch-up vaccines,” the team wrote. “We suggest that this recommendation should be accepted as a standard of Australian practice,” they conclude.

The law recognizes that the first set of frameworks to avoid the need for parental consent is that minors are mature enough and may be able to make their own decisions. Gillic’s decision, also known as the doctrine of mature minors.

Therefore, if a minor requests the COVID-19 vaccine without parental consent, the request invalidates the parent’s opinion if it is determined to have the ability and maturity to weigh the benefits and risks of vaccination. May be.

The team led by Massy said that vaccination was in the best interests of the patient and was in line with good public health practices. It determined that vaccination was often within the best interests of young people, and the authors speculated that the principle of Gillic ability could be applied directly to young people seeking COVID-19 vaccination.

However, it is also important to recognize that the report can cause conflicts within the family of teens vaccinated against the wishes of their parents, which is privacy and pre-vaccination. I realized that it can be mitigated by a combination of counseling.

Nonetheless, the authors recognize that parents have limited authority and refuse to vaccinate their children with COVID-19, “not in the best interests of the child under medical recommendations. In addition, the risk of illness could not be reduced. “

The team noted that other factors involved in Gillick’s decision, such as privacy, the best interests of the patient, and public health.

Jenny Rickard, chairman of the Australian Parents’ Council, sees the “ethical dilemma” and recognizes that in special circumstances where parents disagree, it is important for the child with the agency to make their own decisions. Said that. Most families can talk to their children.

She also expressed concern about 12 years as a minimum age requirement for self-representation.

“12 to 17 years old is a very broad age group and very different in development. I can assure you that the 17 year olds can make their own decisions. [in vaccinations] It’s more like a forgiveness from your parents, not a permit, and you’ll be fine instead of 12 years old. “

“For my own 12-year-old kid, they didn’t have the agency or the ability to make those choices. They could talk to their parents and express their views to us as parents. I can definitely say that it was done. “

“They are in a situation where it is a relationship. That’s it. That’s our daily life. Because it’s a relationship, they don’t have to get out of it and do anything different.”

Nonetheless, she recognizes that a 12-year-old child “will be paid more due diligence and attention if he steps into the vaccine hub,” and has an institution where the child makes decisions. I confirmed that.

Likert also pointed out the vaccination of children from the age of 14 and the “separation” of parents from medical records.

“It’s probably a concern for many parents, especially the difficulties associated with the additional steps involved in obtaining a vaccination certificate.”

“I have to admit that my 15-year-old son was a little uncomfortable with having to set up a myGov account to get a vaccination record.”

Now in Australia, teens can book a visit with a doctor and request treatment without their parents’ knowledge, even if they have their parents’ Medicare card. In addition, there are no details of consultation for children over 14 years old. Teenagers aged 12 to 13 can also request private consultation.

Children over the age of 14 must set up their own myGov account to access vaccination records and certificates separate from their parents.

The Australian Immunization Handbook also makes it clear that common law practices, such as the principles of mature minors, are respected. In some states, there are specific legislation that covers the treatment of minors, such as competence criteria. The handbook also mentioned the refusal to vaccinate young people and suggested that the refusal should be respected.

As of January 26, 33.44% (pdf) Children aged 5 to 11 years have been vaccinated with the first COVID-19 vaccine. 35.09% Percentage of Australians over the age of 18 who received a booster shot.

Marina Chan

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Marina Chan is a Melbourne-based Australian reporter with a focus on Australian news. Contact her at [email protected]