RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Kids ages 12-15 are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, and here in North Carolina, they don’t necessarily need their parents’ permission to get it.

While the state doesn’t require parental consent for the vaccines, some vaccine providers do.

Marcus Monroe, 14, is getting his COVID-19 shot the first day WakeMed vaccinates his age group.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “We’ve been in this pandemic for like a year and a half and I’m ready to get it over with.”

He said he and his family talked about the vaccine before deciding he’d get it. His mother, Rasheeda Monroe, is the medical director of primary care pediatrics at WakeMed.

“I think it’s important that families are making these decisions together and the parents are informed,” she explained, adding, “As a health system we have chosen to have children who are under 16 have parental consent [for the COVID-19 vaccine]. We just feel that’s a smart thing to do because this is still under an emergency use authorization

Other vaccine providers will not require parental permission.

“COVID vaccination is one of those medical treatments that North Carolina says that a child is able to consent for on their own,” explained Elizabeth Ramsey, with UNC Health.

North Carolina state law allows people younger than 18 to make certain healthcare choices if they have “decisional capacity” to do so, meaning they understand health care needs and options and can make decisions about them.

“They can consent to prevention and treatment of some contagious disease, sexually spread diseases, most vaccines pregnancy testing, alcohol or drug abuse treatment, mental health treatment, there are a list of things minors can consent to on their own,” Ramsey noted.

If a child does not have consent from a parent or guardian, UNC officials say they’ll evaluate the child’s decisional capacity, and discuss the risks and benefits.

“As long as they show that they have clear decision making ability we will allow them to consent,” said Ramsey.

Duke Health officials say they’ll welcome children 12 and older to get a COVID-19 vaccine with or without a parent. If, after talking with the child, the person giving the vaccine has doubts about the child’s decisional capacity and a team leader agrees, they will try to contact the parents.

Wake County released a statement to CBS 17 explaining their process for vaccinating children 12 and older:

We’re excited to begin vaccinating 12 and older and have already have seen 595 people between the ages of 12-15 sign up for appointments in the 12 hours since we opened appointment sign-ups around 8 p.m. Wednesday night on WakeGov.com/vaccine. We’re also already seeing walk-ins show up at our clinic and most all of this age group are showing up with their parents.

If a parent or guardian is not present, we’ll make an attempt to reach a parent or guardian.
If one can not be reached, our clinical staff will take time with the patient to go over the vaccine information and will assess that the patient has understanding and decisional capacity. And per the state statute, we will consult with a physician on our staff. Our goal is to inform, follow statute and provide services to minors who desire the vaccine and have decisional capacity. We are only offering Pfizer to those under 16 in our established vaccine clinics and not at our outreach events in the community.”

Wake County External Communications Manager Stacy Beard