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Can teens get the COVID-19 vaccine without their parents' permission?

Now that some teenagers are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in North Carolina, some people are wondering if they still need their parents' permission for the shot.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Starting Wednesday, April 7, everyone in the state of North Carolina age 16 and older is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. 

This means all previous restrictions on age or medical condition not longer apply, but what exactly are the rules when it comes to teenagers getting vaccinated? 


Can 16- and 17-year-olds in North Carolina receive the COVID-19 vaccine without a parent or guardian's permission?

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Yes. North Carolina state law allows teenagers to give consent to medical services for the treatment and prevention of communicable diseases. COVID-19 is considered a communicable disease by North Carolina.


  • North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
  • North Carolina General Statutes 90 and 130

RELATED: VERIFY: Parent permission not needed for eligible teens to get COVID-19 vaccine in South Carolina

A section of North Carolina law as part of General Statute 90 states, "Any minor may give consent for medical health services for the prevention or treatment of communicable diseases."

COVID-19 has been classified a "communicable disease" by General Statute 130 and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

These statutes give 16- and 17-year-olds in North Carolina the ability to get a COVID-19 vaccine without the permission of a parent or guardian.

It's important to note that the only vaccine available to people under 18 is the Pfizer vaccine. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are currently available only to adults. 

State health leaders say they're working closely with vaccine providers to ensure the Pfizer vaccine is the only shot being offered to eligible teenagers. In the future, younger age groups could be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

RELATED: VERIFY: How necessary is that second COVID-19 shot?

Dr. Gretchen Coady, a board-certified physician in internal medicine, who specializes in pediatrics at Piedmont Medical Center, said clinical trials have experts confident the vaccine will also be safer in younger groups. 

"We think because it's proved to be safe in adults that it is going to be safe in kids, but of course we can always go the extra mile for our kids to make sure," Coady said. 

All of the COVID-19 vaccines on the market right now are either currently testing or plan to test the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine in younger children.

Have a relative or friend in another state and want to know when they can get vaccinated? Visit NBC News' Plan Your Vaccine site to find out about each state's vaccine rollout plan.

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