Do Teens Need A Parent Or Guardian Present To Get The COVID-19 Vaccine?

Danielle Rose (right) takes a picture of her 17-year-old daughter, Julia Rose, after Julia received the COVID-19 vaccine at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland March 29, 2021.
Danielle Rose (right) takes a picture of her 17-year-old daughter, Julia Rose, after Julia received the COVID-19 vaccine at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland March 29, 2021. Anyone under 18 must have parental consent before they can receive the vaccine in Ohio. [Lisa Ryan / ideastream]
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Kathleen asked, "Do I come in with my 17-year-old son to get vaccinated? What form does he need to bring if not?"

Parental consent is required for individuals under the age of 18 to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, but what is needed at the appointment may differ by provider, according to Ohio health officials.

For example, University Hospitals is requiring 16- and 17-year-olds to either be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian or bring a signed parental consent form to the appointment, said Dr. Robyn Strosaker, chief operating officer of UH Cleveland Medical Center.

"Children who are under the age of 18, who are registered for an appointment [will] have that form sent to them in advance with their appointment reminders," Dr. Strosaker said.

If present at the vaccination, the guardian must sign off on a form the teen fills out before getting their vaccine, she said.

Cleveland Clinic is also giving teens the option to be accompanied by their legal guardian or provide written parental consent at the appointment, officials said.

Some providers, such as MetroHealth, are requiring legal guardians to be there, officials said.

Regardless of individual provider rules, if the teen is registering through Ohio’s online scheduling portal, a parent or legal guardian must give digital consent before the appointment is approved, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

If the teenager does not bring the signed consent form or is not accompanied by a guardian, they will not be able to get the shot, Strosaker said.

"Just like any other medical treatment a child would come to seek, we can’t administer that without consent," she said.

Every location will require parents to sign a consent form, according to state officials, so check the provider’s specific rules ahead of time.

Anyone 16 and up is now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in the state, but individuals under 18 must receive the Pfizer shot. The other vaccines from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have only been authorized in the U.S. for ages 18 and up.

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