CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Vaccine providers in the Carolinas just opened up COVID-19 vaccinations to a new age group this week. Kids, ages 12 to 15, are now cleared for the Pfizer shot. In both North and South Carolina, health officials had said that older teens who were already eligible for the vaccine are able to consent to their own shots.
Does that also apply to this younger group?
In the Carolinas, can 12- to 15-year-olds get the COVID-19 shot without a parent's permission?
It depends on where you live.
In North Carolina, the answer is "yes."
Dr. Catherine Ohmstede, a pediatrician and physician lead with Novant's Children's Health Institute, said it's more "ideal" if a parent is present for their child's COVID-19 shot. But it's not a requirement, and there are no consent forms needed.
"We do encourage children to come with an adult for moral support and to help them feel comfortable," Ohmstede said. "But state law does not require any consent or additional paperwork."
However, the answer is different for South Carolina children. While 16 and 17-year-olds can get vaccinated without consent, the newly opened age group that includes 12- to 15-year-olds will need to have a parent sign paperwork, according to Dr. Brannon Traxler, Public Health Director with South Carolina's Department of Health and Environmental Control.
"They will need a consent form completed and signed by their parent or legal guardian before they can get their shot," Traxler said.
"Individual vaccine providers have their own types of consent forms, but the parent or legal guardian does not need to be present at the time the vaccine is administered."
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