By Robert A. Cronkleton
From The Kansas City Star
An Olathe, Kansas, mother has sued Walmart for allegedly giving a COVID-19 vaccine to her 15-year-old daughter without a parent’s consent, according to court documents.
Michelle Tonkinson filed the lawsuit Thursday in Johnson County District Court against Walmart Inc. and an unknown pharmacist.
A spokeswoman for Walmart said the company is committed to offering quality and compliant health care.
“We take allegations like this seriously,” said Abby Williams, senior manager of corporate communications for Walmart. “We will review the claims and respond with the Court as appropriate once we are served.”
On Sept. 10, Tonkinson’s daughter along with her 21-year-old brother-in-law went to the Walmart at 13600 S. Alden St. in Olathe to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine.
The two went to the pharmacy counter and said the teen wanted to get a vaccine by herself and without parental consent. Initially, a pharmacist said she could receive the vaccine. But paperwork required a parent or legal guardian’s name and signature, according to the suit.
Upon seeing that was left blank, a Walmart employee asked her brother-in-law if he was 18 years old. He replied yes, but that he was unable to sign as a parent or legal guardian.
During the conversation, it is believed that Tonkinson’s daughter was vaccinated by a pharmacist and a vaccine card had been given to her.
Tonkinson contends that she was available if Walmart had tried to contact her to determine whether she was giving consent for her daughter to be vaccinated, but Walmart didn’t do so.
Tonkinson also said that Kansas law requires parental consent for most health care decisions, including vaccinations, because minors like her daughter lack the necessary capacity to make medical decisions.
Moreover, Kansas law requires minors to have written, notarized consent, and the presence of a parent or legal guardian to receive a piercing or tattoo, she contends.
Despite requesting the medical records from Walmart concerning her daughter, Tonkinson alleges that Walmart refuses to provide them. She also contends that Walmart tried to conceal its conduct and the fact her daughter was vaccinated from her.
She is suing Walmart for invasion of privacy, battery, and negligence. Tonkinson seeks damages in excess of $75,000.
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