He had to conceal it from his parents
High school junior Nicolas Montero stays busy. He is a track runner, works night shifts at Burger King, and keeps up with his school work at Neshaminy High in Bucks County.
Montero says that Montero’s busy schedule is strategic because it allows him to be away from the house.
Montero is separate from his parents by a cultural and political rift that is common in the U.S. He claims his parents are part a small, but vocal minority that oppose COVID-19 vaccine and refuse to give him the shots.
Montero (16) said that these beliefs are constantly changing. It’s not one thing they believe, so it’s really speculative. They believe everything they see on Facebook.
The impasse led to a peaceful protest: Montero went to Philadelphia to enforce a city regulation that allows children 11 years old and older to receive vaccinations without parental consent.
Some states do not require parental consent to vaccinate. Oregon allows teens aged 15 and over to consent to their own health care, including vaccinations. South Carolina and Rhode Island allow 16-year-olds to receive COVID-19 vaccines on their own.
California is the same for anyone 12 years old or older who wants to receive vaccines against STIs. But now California state lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow those minors to consent to all Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccines.
The law was strengthened in Alabama during the coronavirus pandemic. Although 14 is the minimum age for consenting to any other medical care including inoculations and treatment, a new law states that children under 19 years old must have parental consent for COVID-19 vaccines.
Montero’s native Pennsylvania allows minors to make medical decisions under certain circumstances.
A Kaiser Family Foundation poll in November 2021 found that 30% of parents who have children aged 12-17 years old said they would not vaccinate them. Two National Institutes of Health scholars published a piece advocating that states include COVID-19 vaccinations in their statutes.
Expanding access to vaccines
Philadelphia’s law was established in 2007 by the Board of Health. It allows anyone 11 years old or older to vaccinate without the need for a parent.
Cheryl Bettigole, Philadelphia Health Commissioner, stated that the regulation was designe to remove additional barriers to vaccination.
Bettigole stated that it can be difficult for parents with lower incomes to find the time to travel to these appointments. These are low-risk vaccinations.
The regulation was also in effect in the year following approval by the FDA of a three-shot HPV vaccine regimen for young people. This recommendation was made years before the generation became sexually active.
Family divisions are growing
They were shocked to learn that their nephew had been vaccinated by Kissling and her sister.
Kissling recalled, “He was so proud.” He had his card and we were all like “Wait! When did this happen?” “How did this happen?” “
Montero’s parents discovered the news just before Thanksgiving. They responded the same way Montero and his aunts feared they would. Montero is now unable to speak to his parents because of the tension.
Kissling stated that her family had never discussed politics until recently. She said that it is difficult for her family to spend quality time together now, despite the fact that they used to rarely discuss politics. She said she doesn’t expect a quick resolution because her family is more likely to ignore conflict than to resolve it.