Moral Distress and Involuntary COVID-19 Vaccination of a Mature Minor Receiving Inpatient Psychiatric Treatment

Journal of Clinical Ethics 33 (3):236-239 (2022)
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Abstract

Mandatory vaccination against COVID-19 is a highly controversial issue, and many members of the public oppose it on the grounds that they should be free to determine what happens to their own body. Opinion has generally favored parental authority with respect to vaccination of children, but less attention has been paid to the ethical complexities of how to respond when mature minors refuse vaccination that is requested by their parents. We present a case in which a mature minor, who was psychiatrically hospitalized, refused vaccination that had been requested by her parents, which led to significant moral distress for her caregivers.

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Brent Kious
University of Utah

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