California bill could let kids over 12 get COVID dose without parent's consent
- A new bill proposed in California could allow children aged 12 and above to get the COVID vaccine without parental consent
- Only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is available for children between 12 and 17 in the US
- The new bill comes from the Vaccine Work Group
A new bill has been proposed in California, which could allow children below 12 to get COVID-19 vaccines without their parents' permission if it gets passed.
The bill has been authored by state senators Scott Wiener and Richard Pan from San Francisco and Sacramento, respectively. Under this current bill, parents would no longer be legally required to know if children above 12 have received the vaccine. While California has the current rule where those between 12 and 17 cannot take the vaccine without informing their parents, there are some exceptions. In San Francisco County, there is already an exception where children within this age group can self-consent, as long as there is a reasonable attempt on part of the healthcare worker to inform the guardian, giving them some time to object.
Notably, minors in California already do not need parental consent to get Human Papillomavirus (HPV) or Hepatitis B vaccines.
Speaking of the new bill, Wiener said, "Giving young people the autonomy to receive life-saving vaccines, regardless of their parents' beliefs or work schedules, is essential for their physical and mental health. It's unconscionable for teens to be blocked from the vaccine because a parent either refuses or cannot take their child to a vaccination site. This is about empowering teenagers to make decisions on their own health and their own safety. Almost a million California teenagers are unvaccinated, and for a lot of those teens it's because their parents either refuse to get them vaccinated or they have not yet gotten around to it."
This new bill is the first proposal to come from the Vaccine Work Group, which has been set up by the Democrats to determine what can be legally done to up the vaccination rates. To that end, Wiener noted that there will be more bills like this. Notably, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only one approved in the US for children between 12 and 17.