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VERIFY: Can the new Pfizer age group get vaccinated without parental permission in the Carolinas?

The approved age for COVID-19 vaccinations just lowered to 12 years old. Can this newly authorized age group get a shot on their own in the Carolinas?

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?

The Question

In the Carolinas, can 12- to 15-year-olds get the COVID-19 shot without a parent's permission?

The Answer

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."

RELATED: Can teens get the COVID-19 vaccine without their parents' permission?

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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VERIFY is dedicated to helping the public distinguish between true and false information. The VERIFY team, with help from questions submitted by the audience, tracks the spread of stories or claims that need clarification or correction. Have something you want VERIFIED? Text us at 704-329-3600 or visit /verify.


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