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


Brent M. Kious, Toni Hesse, and Philip L. Baese


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 an mature minor, who was psychiatrically hospitalized, refused vaccination that had been requested by her parents, which lead to significant moral distress for her caregivers.



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