Do I Have to Sign a Consent Form Before Getting a Vaccine?

Most people likely think that they need to sign a consent form before getting their kids vaccinated?

Why?

Do I Have to Sign a Consent Form Before Getting a Vaccine?

Because many pediatricians and clinics have parents sign a form acknowledging that they have received a Vaccine Information Statement (VIS), so they likely figure that they are required to sign.

While it may be common practice, unless it is required by state law, no one has to actually sign a consent form before getting vaccinated. A signature is not required by federal law.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to get informed consent before giving a vaccine. You just don’t typically need a signature to confirm that you got informed consent.

“Those who are capable of giving consent may do so in writing, orally or by co­operation. Completion of a consent form is not a legal requirement. A signature on a consent form does not itself prove that the consent is valid but it does serve to record the decision that was reached, and the discussions that have taken place. The Bristol Royal Infirmary Inquiry Final Report (2001) reported that ‘too great a regard is paid to the symbolic act of signing a piece of paper rather than to the real task… which involves explaining what is to take place. ’”

Green Book: Chapter 2 Consent (UK)

So why do you have to sign when your child is getting a vaccine?

“There is no federal requirement for signed consent for any dose of vaccine. The federal requirement is to provide all adult patients or parents/legal representatives of minor children with the appropriate VIS for each dose of vaccine administered… Some clinics, agencies, and/or state immunization programs may have requirements for signatures.”

Ask the Experts About Documenting Vaccination

Although not usually required and the signature shouldn’t be the focus of consent, a signature still helps to confirm that informed consent was provided.

More on Signing Vaccine Consent Forms

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