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‘12-year-olds capable of deciding about vaccination with assistance’

Children aged between 12 and 17 years can decide themselves whether they want to be vaccinated or not. Experts say that children are capable of taking a well-considered decision.

Mariëlle Bruning

'Children aged 8 years old are also often already perfectly capable of telling a juvenile judge what they want themselves’, says Professor of Child Law Mariëlle Bruning in Dutch newspaper NRC. She points to research which shows that between the years of 9.6 and 11.2 a transition area exists: young children are generally not considered legally capable, but older children are.

'Each child is unique', Bruning emphasises. 'Perhaps a child who is aged 15 and has a mental impairment is not yet able to take medical decisions. But on average, 12-year-olds are capable of overseeing the consequences of decisions in such areas. That said, they need to be assisted in their decision by parents or educators.'

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