Teenagers don’t usually get credit for helping peers break their parents’ rules. But when Kelly Danielpour, ’25, stumbled across Reddit comments from young people seeking routine vaccinations against their parents’ wishes, she saw it as a public health problem in need of a solution—one that has since, if you will, gone viral.
In spring 2019, Danielpour founded VaxTeen, a website that helps young people understand their rights to consent to vaccinations, which vary from state to state. Then, it was about tetanus and polio. By summer 2021, COVID-19 was sending increasing numbers of youth to the hospital, and interest in the L.A.-based site had skyrocketed. Danielpour has brought on more than 30 teen ambassadors to advise peers nationwide on vaccination consent laws, transportation to clinics and the art of persuading a parent. She thinks teens are “uniquely poised” to advocate for themselves with a guardian. “No one knows a parent better than their kid,” she says.
As she embarks on her frosh year, Danielpour plans to continue running VaxTeen and to advocate for federal legislation that would allow minors to consent to vaccines.
Sophia Boyd-Fliegel, ’21, is an editorial intern at Stanford. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.