My mom says we aren’t getting our flu shots this year because we’re going to be staying home, but I still want to get the shot. Should I not get the shot? How should I confront my mom?

Thank you for the question. The situation with your mom sounds challenging and stressful. Understandably, it’s frustrating for teens who want the ability to make their own decisions about their health care, but can’t due to either their age or state laws. It might also be a challenge if the teen’s choice is different from that of their parent(s), such as it is in this situation. However, many parent(s) are surprised to learn that their teen wants to make their own medical decisions after the fact, meaning their teen doesn’t share their preferred decision with their parent(s).

If you haven’t already, start a conversation with your Mom about the flu shot. Let her know your thoughts and feelings about wanting to get a flu shot, despite your plan to quarantine due to COVID-19.  If your family (before COVID-19) usually received a flu shot, she might be more receptive to taking you about the flu shot, if she knows you want one! If speaking with your mom isn’t an opinion, all hope is not lost, you may have other options.

Depending on where you live, you many need to have a flu vaccine even if your parents don’t want you to. In the United States, some states have signed a flu vaccine mandate, meaning if you attend school (public, virtual, or private) in that state, you must receive a flu vaccine to attend school. If your state does not have a vaccine mandate and you don’t feel comfortable having a conversation with your parent(s), ask to speak to your health care provider (HCP) for a few minutes alone at your next appointment. Share with your HCP about your interest in receiving the flu shot this but that your Mom is hesitant to get you one. Your HCP might be helpful in convincing your Mom to get one. Good luck! Stay Healthy!