Unvaccinated Teens Trying to Get Shots on their Own
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, February 20, 2019 03:57 PM

According to the Washington Post “Internet-savvy teenagers are fact-checking their parents’ decisions in a digital health reawakening — and seeking their own treatments in bouts of family defiance. This generation of unvaccinated children coming of age has looked at the science and want to protect themselves.” said Allison Winnike, president and chief executive of the Immunization Partnership, a Texas-based nonprofit vaccine advocacy group. “Now you’re seeing children coming of age, out from a cloud of misinformation,” Winnike told The Washington Post.

At least three self-described teenagers from different states recently told Reddit they have a common problem: Their parents are staunchly opposed to vaccination, and they fear for their health if they do not take action. Said one teenager who “read scientific papers and journals. … pulled up Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studies on his phone at the dinner table, hoping his mother would relent and get him and his four younger siblings — now ages 16, 14, 5 and 2 — vaccinated. ‘I looked into it; it was clear there was way more evidence in defense of vaccines,’ he said.  His mother claimed vaccines are health risks.

Different state laws affect how minors can pursue their own medical interests. Most states do not allow anyone younger than 18 to pursue medical care without guardian approval, including immunizations, Winnike said.  In Ohio and 16 other states, parents can opt out of required vaccines for philosophical reasons. All but three states allow the exemption on religious grounds. (All 50 allow opt-out for medical reasons.)

The teenager said he has seen a growing discussion online about teenagers emboldened to make their own health decisions and pursue vaccinations.  In Washington, a self-described underage teen wrote in January that their mother would not allow vaccines.  “I, as well as my siblings, hold the ideology that vaccines are a public health issue, and a personal responsibility to the benefit of the population, not a right you can revoke from your children,” the teenager wrote.

Washington has become a battleground between anti-vaccine groups pushing for relaxed regulations and concerned parents watching a measles outbreak strike the Pacific Northwest, a well-documented anti-vaccination refuge.  At least 56 people in Washington and Oregon have contracted measles. A health emergency in has been declared in Clark County.

The teenager suggested that to empower teenagers and get more people immunized, states should lower the age of consent required for vaccinations instead of pushing for stricter immunization laws and dropping exemptions.

Source:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2019/02/10/unvaccinated-teens-are-fact-checking-their-parents-trying-get-shots-their-own/