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What Washington parents should know about COVID-19 vaccines for 16- and 17-year-olds

Sixteen- and 17-year-olds in Washington may need consent from a parent or guardian before getting a COVID-19 vaccine, the state Department of Health said.

SEATTLE — While everyone 16 and older in Washington state will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine starting April 15, there are some limitations 16- and 17-year-olds should know before signing up and going to an appointment.

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) said 16- and 17-year-olds are still considered minors and need consent from a parent or guardian to get a vaccine, unless they are legally emancipated.

However, minors may receive immunizations without parental consent under Washington state’s “Mature Minor Doctrine.” (Click here to learn more about the Mature Minor Doctrine.)

Additionally, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is the only vaccine approved for people ages 16 and older. Both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are studying the safety and effectiveness of their vaccines in minors, but are currently only authorized for people over the age of 18.

RELATED: Washington state to receive fewer COVID-19 vaccine doses in coming weeks

The DOH said it is working to add the type of COVID-19 vaccine to its Vaccine Locator tool. If the vaccine type is not listed while making an appointment for 16- and 17-year-olds, residents may need to contact the provider or find a different location.

Last week, Pfizer announced its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and strongly protective in kids as young as 12. In a study of 2,260 U.S. volunteers ages 12 to 15, preliminary data showed there were no cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated adolescents compared to 18 among those given dummy shots, Pfizer reported.

The city of Seattle recently opened a vaccination appointment notification list for anyone in Tiers 1-4 of Phase 1A and Phase 1B. Preregistration is available for anyone 16 or older, residents who have not received a COVID-19 vaccination and anyone who lives or works in King County.

Anyone who signs up for the notification list will receive an email when an appointment becomes available at any of the city-run vaccination sites. The vaccination sites are located in North Seattle, Rainier Beach, West Seattle and the Lumen Field Event Center.

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