Health unit clarifies rules around consent for youth vaccinations

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The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has issued a release when it comes to youth vaccinations against COVID-19, specifically around consent issues for those under the age of 18.

In the release, the health unit states that COVID-19 vaccines are provided through the process of informed consent.

At the time of vaccination, immunizing staff will provide education and answer questions on the benefits and risks of the vaccine prior to administration. This applies to all eligible individuals including those aged 12 and over as long as they have the capacity to make this decision. This means that they understand: 

 - what vaccination involves,
 - why it is being recommended; and
 - the risks and benefits of accepting or refusing to be vaccinated.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit understands and respects youth's right to consent to healthcare and recommends that all youth (aged 12-17) speak about this decision with a parent, guardian, or an adult they trust. If youth are not able to consent to receiving the vaccine, they require consent from a substitute decision-maker, such as a parent or legal guardian.

"Vaccination of young people will prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in schools and will likely help keep schools open.  To advance this goal, young people have been provided an opportunity to be vaccinated at school based clinics" says Nicole Dupuis, Chief Executive Officer of the health unit.

"Getting vaccinated remains one of the most important steps an individual can take to protect themselves and those around them from COVID-19. The WECHU is working with local school boards to identify and plan opportunities to support youth vaccination in our community," adds  Dupuis.