Vaccines have saved millions of lives, and yet there is still a growing movement of people who would rather not let their children be vaccinated. Everyone from the World Health Organization to Roald Dahl to this woman who experienced negative effects of vaccines urge you to get them done for your own health, as well as those around you.
The problem for some children is that in most parts of the US, as a minor you need the consent of a parent or guardian in order to get vaccinated. So what do you do if you want to protect yourself from diseases, but your parents won't let you?
In a series of posts emblematic of the absurd times we're going through, children of ant-vaxxers are turning to Reddit for advice on how to protect themselves from potentially deadly diseases against the wishes of their own parents.
"I am writing because I am the 15-year-old son of an anti-vaccine parent. I have spent the last 4 years trying to convince my mother that vaccines are safe. I haven't succeeded," one boy wrote on a subreddit dedicated to legal advice. "So instead I am trying to research how to be vaccinated without my mother's consent."
It is by no means an isolated post.
Unfortunately, the answer is that in the US there isn't a whole lot you can do about the situation. From age 16 you are legally entitled to confidential doctor's appointments without your parents present, but in most states you have to be 18 to give your own consent for medical procedures. Without convincing your parents to give consent, there are very few ways you can legally get vaccinated, without taking the rather major step of getting yourself legally emancipated from your parents.
However, there are exceptions, as Vaxopedia.org point out. In the following 15 states, it is possible to give your own consent to vaccinations.
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
If you aren't from these states, it gets a whole lot trickier. The 15-year-old boy from Minnesota was even desperate enough to ask if he should forge one of his parent's signatures (the answer is an emphatic no, forgery carries a $5,000 fine or up to 3 years in jail).
With no other legal way to get vaccines, your best bet is to convince your parents to give consent, even bringing in other adults to help with your argument if need be.
"I would recommend talking with a school nurse," one Redditor writes.
"They will be the most effective person to take up this fight against your mother, especially if there are immunizations you have yet to receive that are required for public school. A colleague of mine is a school nurse; believe me when I say that the good ones will fight tooth and nail with the anti-vaxxers."
"Agreed," another writes.
"My mom is a school nurse and has been dealing with a slew of anti-vaxxer parents over the last few years. She does a pretty good job of scaring or guilting the bejeezus out of parents to get their kids vaccinated."
Vaxopedia has a good list of resources for convincing your parents to give consent.
If that doesn't work, you can get vaccinated as an adult. Reddit is flooded with posts from adults who didn't receive their vaccines as a child for a reason.
If you do wait it out until you are old enough to consent, it's as simple as going to your doctor and telling them you are unvaccinated. They will tell you what vaccines you need and get you booked in.