OLATHE, Kan. (WDAF) — An Olathe mother has filed a lawsuit against Walmart over the COVID-19 vaccine.
The lawsuit alleges that the woman’s 15-year-old girl was vaccinated by a Walmart employee at the store’s pharmacy without parental consent.
The 15-year-old girl wanted the COVID-19 vaccine so she could hang out with her friends.
“The biggest problem I have with this situation is that Walmart vaccinated my daughter without my consent and knowledge,” said the girl’s mom Michelle Tonkinson.
The lawsuit alleges on September 10, Tonkinson’s daughter went to the Walmart near 135th and South Black Bob with her 21-year-old brother-in-law. While there she asked the pharmacist for the COVID-19 vaccine and it didn’t seem to matter who signed her paperwork.
“They told him that it could be anybody above the age of 18, that it did not have to be a parent,” Tonkinson said of what the 21-year-old family member told her. “He was very clear with them that he was not her parent, as was my daughter.”
After expressing their concerns with the company, Tonkinson’s attorney Linus Baker received a letter from Walmart that said the company had made a decision on the claim and directed him to call and discuss.
“They told me that no remorse whatsoever, no apologies. They said they had immunity and that that was it,” Baker said. “They violated parental consent, they violated her right to privacy in medical malpractice. You have to get consent when you do these things.”
Baker based the lawsuit he filed in Johnson County Court Thursday on parental rights.
“Minors in Kansas have to have consent to get a medical procedure,” Baker said. “Getting a vaccination, a needle of something into you, as a medic procedure. In Kansas, a 15-year-old cannot give herself consent for that and Walmart should know that.”
Tonkinson said the decision to vaccinate her daughter should have been made between her, her daughter, and her pediatrician, not a Walmart employee.
“I want other people to know that this is happening. I want other people to be aware because if they’ve done it to my daughter, I don’t think that she’s the only one,” she said.
The lawsuit quotes Walmart’s website, directing folks to talk to the pharmacist or state department of heath for immunization consent requirements for minors. Kansas law states a minor 16 years or older may give consent for medical treatment when no parent or guardian is immediately available. This girl is 15.
WDAF-TV called the Walmart pharmacy near 135th and South Black Bob Road to ask if minors are required to have parental consent to get a COVID-19 vaccine and the person who answered said yes, a parent must be present.
Walmart corporate sent this statement:
“Walmart is committed to offering quality and compliant health care. We take allegations like this seriously. We will review the claims and respond with the court as appropriate once we are served.”
Walmart’s communications manager said they were unaware of the lawsuit until WDAF-TV reached out to them.