‘I am writing because I am the 15 year old son of an anti-vaccine parent’: Teenager pens heartbreaking Reddit post asking for ways to get his jabs without his mother’s consent
- The boy, known as ‘Danny’, has tried to convince his mother for four years
- Consent is needed from parents, but can be refused, where he lives in Minnesota
- Reddit users discussed the legal repercussions of fraud if Danny was to lie
- The anti-vaxx movement is a growing concern amid deadly disease outbreaks
A 15-year-old boy has asked Reddit users for advice on how to get vaccinated without the consent of his mother who is against them.
The boy, known as Danny691261, has tried to convince his mother that ‘vaccines are safe’ for four years, but to no avail.
In Minnesota, where he lives, health officials urge parents to consent for vaccination, in fear of outbreaks such as measles.
But Reddit users were quick to warn the teenager of the criminal repercussions should he forge a signature or lie about his age.
Vaccination rates are worryingly decreasing, as parents may have religious beliefs or largely unfounded fears that vaccinations are linked to autism or might ‘change’ their children.
A 15-year-old boy from Minnesota has asked Reddit users for advice on how to get vaccinated without the consent of his mother who is against them
‘Danny’ wrote: ‘I am writing because I am the 15 year old son of an anti-vaccine parent. I have spent the last 4 years trying to convince my mother that vaccines are safe. I haven’t succeeded. So instead I am trying to research how to be vaccinated without my mother’s consent.’
After reading various pages online, Danny came to the understanding that he could not receive any vaccines other than hepatitis B.
He quoted: ‘Minors may not receive health care services without their parents’ or guardians’ consent, unless specified otherwise in statute,’ from Minnesota House Research Department, Minnesota Legislature.
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Danny asked: ‘I cannot conclude what kind of consent, if any, do I have to get from my parents to receive further vaccinations. Is it a signature? Is it verbal?
‘What legal consequences can I face if I fake my parent’s signature giving me consent to vaccinations besides the hepatitis vaccine?’
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the law does not stipulate how to obtain consent, but ‘many clinics ask for the patient’s/parent’s signature’.
The post received 51 responses as people discussed the extent of trouble Danny could get into – after he said his mother would be ‘livid’ but unable to reverse the vaccine.
The boy, known as Danny691261, asked Reddit users for advice and received 51 responses
Danny wondered how much trouble he would get in if he faked consent
One user was quick to remind Danny that he would be committing a crime and to wait
Other users questioned if a judge would really send a teenager to jail for such a crime
A few responses shared experiences of school nurses who fight ‘tooth and nail’ with anti-vaxxers in a bid to sway their opinions and help their children
DO YOU NEED CONSENT TO GET VACCINATIONS?
In most country’s legal systems, the legal age of consent tends to coincide with the age of majority. This is 18 years in most countries.
Therefore, that a child or adolescent in the age group 6 to 17 years cannot provide consent to vaccination and so consent is normally required from their parent or legal guardian.
The current practices of obtaining informed consent for vaccination vary among countries, but normally follow an opt-in approach. This requires written or verbal consent – with latter with the parents presence.
Special procedures are put in place when there are school-based vaccination programmes.
What are the rules in Minnesota?
No federal law requires signed consent for vaccination. However, Minnesota law requires parental consent for medical care of a minor, including vaccination, unless a minor falls under the exception rules.
These include hepatitis B, if the minor is married or has a child, they are living separately from their parent and manage their own finances, or the risk to the minor’s life or health is of such a nature in the professional’s judgment that treatment should be given without delay.
Minnesota’s law does not stipulate how to obtain consent, and many clinics ask for the patient’s/parent’s signature. Be familiar with your facility’s policy on consent and do it the same way every time.
Apart from the possibility of his mother finding out through the insurance, one user said ‘three years jail or $5,000 fine’, as another warned ‘forging a parents’ signature is exactly that, a forgery’.
This led to users questioning to whether a judge would prosecute.
‘Judge won’t be harsh on the kid, but he’ll rip any medical professional a new one if they were to administer vaccines without proper consent,’ one user said.
Another asked: ‘How is the medical professional to determine if the consent was proper? What hoops must the professional jump through to cover their ass?’
Minnesota children are still getting contagious and rapidly spread diseases like measles, whooping cough, and chickenpox.
Health officials beg parents to understand the implications of not vaccinating their children, but many continue to rebel.
A variety of factors have contributed to the antivaccination sentiment across the world – religious beliefs, freedom and misinformation or overperception of the risks.
Scepticism over the MMR jab for measles originated in 1998 when London doctor Andrew Wakefield published a paper linked MMR to autism.
Dr Wakefield was later discredited and struck off as a doctor, but the damage was done.
The internet worsens fears regarding vaccination safety, with many sites and social media accounts posting alarming information about the risks of vaccines.
In the UK – where numbers of vaccinations are also dwindling – a study found that half of parents with children under-two reported being exposed to negative messages about immunisations on social media.
One of the highest states with un-vaccinated children in the US is Washington, where a public health emergency was declared on Friday 25 January.
A measles outbreak has sickened at least 25 children, with experts predicting the number to grow due largely to the anti-vaxx movement.
A number of Reddit users discussed the experiences of school nurses who often find themselves in the position of ‘fighting tooth and nail’ with anti-vaxxers in the hope of swaying their opinions.
It is unclear why Danny’s mother is against vaccines other than believing they are not safe – which Danny clearly is in disagreement with.
In his last comment, four months ago, he said: ‘Guess I’m going to have to wait.’
IS ANDREW WAKEFIELD’S DISCREDITED AUTISM RESEARCH TO BLAME FOR LOW MEASLES VACCINATION RATES?
Andrew Wakefield’s discredited autism research has long been blamed for a drop in measles vaccination rates
In 1995, gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield published a study in The Lancet showing children who had been vaccinated against MMR were more likely to have bowel disease and autism.
He speculated that being injected with a ‘dead’ form of the measles virus via vaccination causes disruption to intestinal tissue, leading to both of the disorders.
After a 1998 paper further confirmed this finding, Wakefield said: ‘The risk of this particular syndrome [what Wakefield termed ‘autistic enterocolitis’] developing is related to the combined vaccine, the MMR, rather than the single vaccines.’
At the time, Wakefield had a patent for single measles, mumps and rubella vaccines, and was therefore accused of having a conflict of interest.
Nonetheless, MMR vaccination rates in the US and the UK plummeted, until, in 2004 the then-editor of The Lancet Dr Richard Horton described Wakefield’s research as ‘fundamentally flawed’, adding he was paid by attorneys seeking lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers.
The Lancet formally retracted Wakefield’s research paper in 2010.
Three months later, the General Medical Council banned Wakefield from practicing medicine in Britain, stating his research had shown a ‘callous disregard’ for children’s health.
On January 6 2011, The British Medical Journal published a report showing that of the 12 children included in Wakefield’s 1995 study, at most two had autistic symptoms post vaccination, rather than the eight he claimed.
At least two of the children also had developmental delays before they were vaccinated, yet Wakefield’s paper claimed they were all ‘previously normal’.
Further findings revealed none of the children had autism, non-specific colitis or symptoms within days of receiving the MMR vaccine, yet the study claimed six of the participants suffered all three.
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