Minors to be allowed rights of consent despite anti-vaxxer guardians

Minor rights to vaccines
Art by: Zasha Hayes

BY Annette Quijada

During times of a major pandemic where immunization is key, minors should have a role in declaring whether or not to take a vaccine.
Last year, councilwoman Mary Cheh introduced a bill to Washington D.C. called the Minor Consent for Vaccinations Amendment Act of 2019 in response to a measles outbreak.
The bill would allow children as young as 11 to be able to give legal consent to receive a vaccination that their parents opted out of because of religion or other reasons.
Medical providers would be the ones making the judgement on whether or not the minor is mature enough to make the decision.
Minors are considered capable if they understand the need for medical care and the risks that come with treatment. Also, minors will not just be given random vaccines, they’ll be presented with vaccines that are recommended for their age group, like the measles vaccine.
Parents who continue to opt out of vaccinating their children are not only putting in danger their children, but as well as the population of people they encounter on a day-to-day basis.
Anti-vaxxers mostly consist of conservatives and many of them are the ones pressuring governments for their children to go back to school.
But with a COVID-19 vaccine closely approaching, most of these parents have already expressed their rejection of it. If their children don’t get it, then they should not be allowed to go back to school.
A large influence in the denial of vaccines comes from misinformation anti-vaxxers have spread using social media.
A Facebook post by a user named Rae Grayham went viral in a video which claimed a project engineer, who made a microchip that will soon be implemented along with the COVID-19 vaccine and warns us not to take it.
People forget how easily influenced others are by social media and this ends up with them making serious decisions off of a Facebook post.
It’s unfortunate that those with children refuse to take the time to look at scientific facts in order to make the best choices for their young ones.
If parents trust their child enough to leave them home alone at the age of 11, then they should be trusted to make an important decision regarding their health.
Governments shouldn’t have to interfere in how one chooses to raise children, but when someone knowingly puts others at risk, interference needs to be made.
Having people walking around with the ability to infect others should have consequences. Council woman Cheh said, “A child needs to be protected against the dangers of things like measles, other diseases that cause death, and the community needs to be protected so that diseases that were once thought to be eliminated are not coming back.”
COVID-19 serves a huge lesson that we have a responsibility to slow down disease transmission for the well being of ourselves and others.
All 50 states should give minors the option to make their own decisions about the vaccines they take.

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