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Parents upset over Tennessee law allowing kids to get vaccinated without parental consent

{p}AP photo of a 17-year-old getting the Pfizer vaccine (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer){/p}

AP photo of a 17-year-old getting the Pfizer vaccine (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

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Parents in Tennessee are upset about children being able to get the COVID-19 vaccine without permission from their parents. Some state lawmakers are calling to dismantle the state health department.

Mimi Pohlam says she and her husband make the decision for their kids, from school activities to riding the school bus. She believes it’s their place to make decisions for their kids, not the government’s—especially when it comes to the Covid vaccine.

“I don’t want the state or federal government to raise my children. I would like to make those decisions and I have the right,” said Polham.

ALSO READ: Rural Tennessee counties at risk if lawmakers pull the plug on state health department

She’s talking about the Mature Minor Doctrine. It allows kids ages 14-18 to get medical treatment like the Covid vaccine, without parent permission or presence. It’s up the child’s medical provider to determine if the kid is mature enough to make their own medical decisions before providing medical treatment.

Read the Mature Minor Doctrine below, or click here.

“How are they mature enough to make medical decisions that could have lifelong consequences, “ said Polham. “You can’t even get your ears pierced without me signing something. A child can’t even go to the doctor alone without me being there. I don’t even understand how this is any different.”

FOX 17 News caught up with Gov. Lee Wednesday who was asked if he agrees with this doctrine and if promoting the vaccine to kids is appropriate.

“From my perspective, what’s appropriate for the department of health is to provide information on access to vaccines, for adults for their personal choice and for decisions about their children. That’s what I’m encouraging them to stay focused on,” said Gov. Lee.

FOX 17 News’ Harriet Wallace reached out to DR. Lisa Piercy, head of the state health department to ask if she is reconsidering instituting this practice in light of parent and lawmakers concerns but she did not respond. But recently lawmakers Rep. Scott Cepicky, R-Culleoka, Sen. Janice Bowling, R-Tullahoma and Sen. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, grilled her on it.

“I don’t know the term I could use, to express my extreme disappointment in the state of Tennessee to think that a 14 year old child could say yes (to the shot),” said Sen. Pody.

“That just doesn’t sit well with me and it doesn’t sit well with a lot of other parents,” said Pohlman.

Dr. Piercy is due back before the government operations committee next month to further discuss the doctrine.

Recently, Rep. Cepicky made a motion to dismantle the health department. Sen. Kerry Roberts, chair of the government operations committee, says lawmakers have the legal authority to do that but it is highly unlikely to happen. He’s encouraging more discussions with lawmakers and the health department to resolve the matter.

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