Teens Fighting Back Against Anti-Vaccination Views of Their Parents

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But much like with adults, seeing these preventable diseases spring up could be spurring teens to act in defiance, says Dr. David Beyda, chair of the department of bioethics and medical humanism at the University of Arizona College of Medicine at Phoenix.

“Teens are wanting to protect themselves and are becoming their ‘own self’ when it comes to their autonomy, that is — self-directed care,” Beyda told Healthline.

One likely way teens could get vaccines without parental consent is medical concerns for sexually transmitted diseases, Lantos said. That includes diseases such as HPV but also arguably vaccines for hepatitis.

These are the diseases most likely to affect teenagers anyway. There isn’t much need for a teenager to get vaccinated for whooping cough, he pointed out.

“For as much as people joke that teenagers think they know everything, it seems rare to find one that actually believes that their own internet research is superior to the credentials of medical professionals and scientific researchers,” Caroline Conway, an attorney and legal expert in New York, told Healthline. “Maybe it’s because they are still at an age where they are expected to treat adults with credentials such as education and professional experience as worthy of respect.”

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But even if teens want to buck their elders and get vaccinated, whether or not they’re able to depends largely on where they live and how old they are.

“Generally, an individual is legally entitled to a confidential doctor’s appointment from age 16 without receiving parental consent and must be over 18 to give their own consent to receive a vaccination,” David Reischer, attorney and chief executive officer at LegalAdvice.com, told Healthline

In 18 states, however, “the law requires only that the individual ‘is mature enough to understand and appreciate the consequences of their decision,’” he said.