Vaccinations have never been more of a hot topic. Some parents stand by their decision to protect their children the traditional way, never missing a shot. However, there are some out there that choose to veto vaccinations entirely. The reasons for this are vast, ranging from religious beliefs to questioning the science behind the immunizations themselves. However, some children may grow up and decide they want to get vaccinated, despite what their parents think. Here's how kids can get around the parental consent barrier to get protected against life-threatening diseases, according to IFLSCIENCE. We've split it up into four main countries, the United States, Canada, Australia, and the UK.
The United States. Sadly for teens in the states, parent consent pretty much rules all. Some states are stricter than others, but the majority stipulate that kids must be over the age of 18 to consent to medical procedures, including vaccines. Although, they can book an appointment without their parent's knowledge from the age of 16. There are 15 states that allow vaccinations without a guardian's consent though: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennesse, Washington, and West Virginia. It's not an ideal situation by any means, but there are options available. If a teen doesn't live in one of these states but still wants to get vaccinated, then it's still advisable for them to talk to a medical professional for further information.
The United Kingdom. Compared to the United States, it's easy as pie to get vaccinated in the United Kingdom. In fact, kids under the age of 16 are considered to be responsible enough to consent to their own treatment as long as they fully understand what is going on. Although it's preferable to have parental permission, doctors will go through with a procedure if they feel it's appropriate. Anyone over the age of 16 is able to consent to treatment regardless. Things are slightly different in Scotland and Wales, but it's not as taboo as it is across the water. Wales are currently trying to review their policy.
Canada. In British Columbia, any person under 19 can give their consent to vaccinations as a "Mature minor". Similarly to the UK, if the doctor deems them responsible enough and is satisfied they understand the treatment in full, then they can go ahead with the procedure. In Ontario, the laws are very relaxed. Kids under the age of 12 are deemed able to say yes or no to vaccinations. Ontario also has interesting rules when it comes to parents. Rather than simply not attending vaccination appointments, parents have to undertake a special educational session about the risks before they make the final decision. Alberta also takes a similar approach, allowing children who seem mature enough to make their own decisions medically. Quebec has the strictest rules of all, as kids can't give their own consent until they are 14 or over.
Australia. Depending on which part of the country you're in, things can be a little tricky in the land down under. In Queensland, understanding kids can get vaccinated, although it's preferable if they are aged 15 or older. Younger children will still be considered but it's down to the doctor. In Victoria, people under the age of 18 are expected to have parental consent. The guidelines are a little blurry on this one, as it's not a firm law. Once again, children under the age of 18 can give their consent as long as they are mature enough to do so. New South Wales generally expect teens to be 14, and South Australia dictates 16. However, both will consider the child's maturity before ruling it out entirely.
Regardless of where the child in question lives, there is a plethora of information available on the risks of anti-vaxxing. Should they feel in a position to do so, encourage them to reach out to their local healthcare provider for some assistance in talking to their guardians about the situation first. Schools are also a great resource of information when it comes to vaccinations and could help with easing the tension between parent and child. There's no doubt that it can be a difficult situation to navigate, but these invaluable resources are there to be utilized.