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Pediatrics. 2008 Jan;121 Suppl 1:S85-7. doi: 10.1542/peds.2007-1115J.

Legal basis of consent for health care and vaccination for adolescents.

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  • 1Center for Adolescent Health & the Law, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.


State law is generally the controlling authority for whether parental consent is required or minors may consent for their own health care, including vaccination. At the federal level, no vaccination consent law exists; however, federal law requires that vaccine information statements be given to the parent or another person who is qualified under state law to consent to vaccination of a minor. All states allow minors to consent for their own health care in some circumstances on the basis of either (1) their status (eg, age, emancipation, marriage) or (2) the kind of health care services they are seeking (eg, family planning services, treatment of sexually transmitted disease). In each state, a specific analysis of laws will be required to determine the circumstances under which a minor can consent for vaccination.

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