Back to Top
  • Delegates also debated who should be qualified a "mature minor" and how that distinction should be made.

    One doctor argued that the term "mature minor" has been a legal term that has historically been upheld in children 16 and older and typically pertains to a child who is educated and "expresses a mature understanding of what's going on."

    The committee debated moving the age down even lower. "'Adolescent' drops that down closer to 10; my pediatric colleagues ... tell me they're using HPV [vaccine] as early as [age 8 years], so we have some language that needs to be massaged ... but really what we're trying to do is encourage vaccinations for the kids," Dr. Mark Bair explained.

    There are also issues that might prove to be barriers to the initiative, including paying for the shots, which would still fall under a parent's responsibility. One person also expressed concern that the initiative could be seen as "chipping away at parental rights."

    In the end, the group settled on making the initiative geared toward minors -- not adolescents -- "to override their parent's refusal." According to the Chicago Tribune, association members ended up voting in support of policies that would allow minors this right and will encourage state lawmakers to establish "comprehensive" minor consent vaccine policies.