Parental permission needed for juveniles at state vaccination clinics

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 5:06 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama state health leaders are continuing to push to see more people vaccinated. Health leaders said they’d like to see more 12-year-olds and older get the vaccine. But despite Alabama law which allows youngsters to make medical decisions, parental permission will be needed first.

Under Alabama law, those 14 years old and older can make medical decisions without parental permission. But the Alabama Department of Public Health made the decision at all of their clinics they need parental approval first.

Jill Mercatrois is not happy COVID safety procedures are not enforced at her son’s school. “My son says they don’t wipe down things anymore. There are no masks. They got children sitting across from each other. There are no masks,” Mercatoris said.

Two weeks ago her 12-year-old son tested positive for COVID. He is 12, but Mercatoris questions COVID vaccines. “The measles, chicken pox all the other ones they have vaccinations for they have been years in the making. It took them years to perfect those,” Mercatoris said.

In Alabama, children 14 years old and older could decide to get vaccinations, but the Alabama Department of Public Health made the decision over the summer that parental permission is needed for those 19 and under. “We have a lot of concerns brought to up by legislative leaders about questions related to age,” Dr. Karen Landers with ADPH said.

So any clinic operated by the ADPH will seek parental approval. This will not be true of private medical clinics or doctor’s offices which have the vaccines. “Since at that point there were other options for persons outside of public health to be vaccinated. We felt this was a reasonable situation to do within our own clinics,” Landers said.

Mercantoris wanted her son protected and she supported the requirement. “They are not grown up enough to make that kind of decision for themselves,” Mercatoris said.

Alabama remains low in the number of children 12 and older vaccinated. Dr. Landers said they have to continue to educate parents about the effectiveness and safety of the vaccines.

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