Someone asked us: I’m 16 and my parents won’t allow me to get the COVID-19 vaccine. How can I help them understand the importance of it so I can get vaccinated? And can I get vaccinated without them knowing?
Anyone 16 years and older is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. However, if you’re under 18, you’ll need your parent’s or guardian’s consent to get it.
Many people, like your parents, may have mistrust in vaccines in general, or be worried about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine specifically. And trying to help your parent or guardian understand why you need the vaccine might be difficult. But it’s possible to get through to them and help them understand. Here are some ways you can reach out:
Listen to their concerns: Even if you don’t agree, it’s important to understand where they’re coming from. Ask questions and try to listen to their answers without judgement so you can really understand what their fears and worries are.
State the facts: Once you understand their concerns, ask their permission to share information with them. Sharing information and answers to common questions from the CDC and other trusted health sources can help clear up any misinformation or concerns they have. Let them know that all vaccines available in the U.S. have been carefully tested and proven to be safe and effective. You can also suggest they talk to your doctor or nurse to ask them any questions about safety, effectiveness, and the importance of getting vaccinated. They can explain things calmly from a medical perspective.
Share your perspective and feelings: This is a good time to express your personal concerns. For example, maybe you know someone who lost a loved-one to COVID-19 or you want to help keep your elderly family members and neighbors safe. Or maybe you’re feeling anxious about going back to in-person school without being vaccinated. If you know of another parent who gave permission for their teen to be vaccinated, you could think about asking them to share their perspective as well.
Be as non-judgmental and supportive as possible when having these conversations. It’s natural for people to have questions about vaccines and it might take a while for them to see your point of view. So be as patient and understanding as you can. For more resources, you can contact your local health department or visit CDC.gov.