In Oregon, any child 15 and older can self-consent to receive the Covid vaccine. For younger children, it’s more complicated.

The basic legal principle is that regardless of where the child lives, parents must agree on medical care. This principle applies to children in grandparent or kin care. Specifically, for children in care, before arranging for the recommended vaccine, DHS Child Welfare will reach out to the biological parents to share information, answer questions and seek consent. Without parental consent a vaccination or immunization may not be given.

For now, the best thing you can do to protect yourself and your children is to be fully vaccinated yourself. One, two and the booster!

As you may know, all children in care have the opportunity to receive their immunizations and vaccinations after coming into care per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) immunization schedule and their healthcare provider’s recommendations. The procedure has been updated to include an additional step—prior to a child receiving an immunization or vaccination, Oregon Department of Human Services Child Welfare (CW) will engage and consult with the child’s biological parent(s), any Indian custodian(s) and/or Tribal Nation if applicable.

If parent(s) do not give consent for one or more vaccination or immunization of a child, then your caseworker will make sure you have that information before a child’s first medical appointment. Without parental consent, a vaccination or immunization may not be given unless:

  • The child is age 15 and older and consents to their own immunizations and vaccinations.
  • Child Welfare has been granted custody and guardianship of the child and the child has a chronic medical condition that places the child at high risk for poor health outcomes or life-threatening illness, if unvaccinated.

If an exception is made, the child’s caseworker will let you know. It is important to keep yourself and the child’s healthcare provider informed throughout the entire process. The full procedure is available in the Child Welfare Policy Manual and resources regarding the COVID-19 pandemic are available on the Oregon Child Welfare COVID-19 Resources webpage. Please note this procedure is subject to change as new CDC, U.S. Federal Drug Administration, public health, Oregon Health Authority, and Oregon Department of Education guidance becomes available.

If you have any questions and concerns about this procedure or need any assistance in getting a child in care a vaccination or immunization, please do not hesitate to reach out to your certifier.

Thank you for the work you do every day to value the voices, experiences, and cultures of the children and families in your care. Take care of yourselves.