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Alabama State Law: Certain youngsters can consent to their own COVID-19 vaccinations

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This is the first full week that adolescents in Alabama have been cleared to get COVID-19 shots. It also appears youngsters don’t need their parents’ permission to be vaccinated. Alabama State Law says anyone fourteen years old or older can consent to medical treatment. Alabama Code 22-8-4 states…

“Any minor who is 14 years of age or older, or has graduated from high school, or is married, or having been married is divorced or is pregnant may give effective consent to any legally authorized medical, dental, health or mental health services for himself or herself, and the consent of no other person shall be necessary.

Published reports indicate that includes COVID shots. UAB Hospital is still spending time reassuring parents that the vaccines are safe. Dr. Ellen Eaton specializes in infection diseases. She says the Pfizer vaccine has been tested on youngsters in clinical trials and it works.

“The adolescent group has been evaluated in terms of clinical trials. We know those twelve to sixteen…pardon me…twelve to fifteen had excellent response,” Dr. Eaton said. “This vaccine has one hundred percent effective in preventing coronavirus.”

In addition to clinical trials that indicate the Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective, Dr. Eaton says product has been approved by the American Board of Pediatrics.

“And, I expect that a majority of our pediatricians are going to make this a priority going forward, to encourage those adolescents to get vaccinated when they come in for their summer physicals—when they come for other non-COVID aches and pains, to get this group on board,” she said.

The Pfizer vaccine is the only product approved for use on youngsters. Despite including adolescents to the list of those able to be vaccinated, data from the Path Check Foundation shows only about twenty six percent of Alabamians have been fully vaccinated.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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