In a statement released by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) as a part of the state’s new COVID vaccine program for elementary aged children, they shared that COVID vaccines can be given to minors without parental consent under “special circumstances.”
The webpage for Minnesota’s COVID response page tells parents that parental consent is required, except under “rare or special circumstances.” The page does not go on to define what “rare or special circumstances” might be.
“Check with the clinic where your child is getting vaccinated to see if a parent or guardian must also be present at the vaccination appointment. When possible, we encourage you to go with your child so you can ask questions and learn more about the vaccine,” the campaign said. They also informed parents that at state-run vaccine clinics, parental consent would be required for those under the age of 15. It was unclear if minors aged 15 and older needed parental consent to obtain the COVID vaccine or not.
In the state of Minnesota, a precedent has been set for employing the “mature minor doctrine.” Several other states have a “mature minor doctrine” in place, including Tennessee, where the Department of Health Commissioner utilized it to justify giving COVID vaccines to minors without parental consent.
Per 2021 Minnesota Statute 144.4198, Mass Dispensing Under Authority of Commissioner of Health, “mature minors” were given the legal authority to “carry out the responsibility of legend drug distribution.”
According to the statute, “When the commissioner of health has determined that a pandemic influenza, other life-threatening disease, or terrorist, accidental, or natural event requires urgent treatment or prophylactic measures, the commissioner may designate persons and entities to expedite legend drug dispensing.”
While the exact definition of a legend drug is unclear, the statute says that the precedent is referring to a “Closed point of dispensing (POD).” The statute states that a POD “means a dispensing or vaccinating location, including but not limited to a business, nonprofit, governmental, correctional, educational, health care, religious, or other entity that dispenses to a limited group such as employees and their household members, residents, business guests, students, or inmates.”
A document for Minnesota health professionals providing medical health to minors in Minnesota from 2002 also discusses the idea of a “mature minor.” The document says that the concept of a “mature minor” applies in instances where “no other exceptions to parental consent apply, and parental involvement is impractical or problematic.”
Following the approval of the Pfizer COVID vaccination for children ages 5 to 11, the state of Minnesota announced their “Vax for Kids” campaign to encourage parents to vaccinate their 5 to 17 year olds.
According to the Minnesota Vax for Kids website, “The best way to keep your child healthy and safe is to get them vaccinated. Getting your child vaccinated helps keep them in school, sports, and other activities.”
The website also shared that vaccinated children will not need to be quarantined following a COVID exposure. The website reads, “Children who are fully vaccinated do not have to stay home (quarantine) if they are exposed to someone who has COVID. They also do not have to get tested as often. Vaccination helps protect children and the people around them.”
A disclaimer on the website said, “Children may still get severe effects of COVID, and common conditions like asthma and obesity can put kids at an even greater risk of severe illness.”
Since the approval of the vaccine for elementary school children, the state has sponsored several clinics for children. According to a tweet from Minnesota Governor Tim Walz (D), one vaccine clinic featured a sloth from the local zoo.
I stopped by one of our new vaccine clinics for 5- to 11-year-olds at Brooklyn Center Elementary today with a surprise guest from the @ComoZoo, Chloe the Sloth.
Exciting to see so many families getting their children vaccinated!
Find a clinic: https://t.co/IM1jdf7Kxj pic.twitter.com/WIoK1osvQt
— Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) November 5, 2021
Walz is also offering prize drawings for those aged 12 to 17 to encourage them to receive their COVID vaccination. Walz said in a tweet, “All fully vaccinated Minnesotans 12-17 are eligible to win game tickets, first pitches, concert tickets, player meet and greets, stadium tours, and much more.”
Getting vaccinated is critical to curbing COVID-19, and now, ALL fully vaccinated Minnesotans 12-17 are eligible to win:
🤝Player meet and greets
And much more!
Learn how to enter at https://t.co/HyyUjK9FTT
— Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) November 2, 2021
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