Preteens May Be Vaxxed Without Parents’ Consent Under California Bill: S.B. 866

“This bill would additionally authorize a minor 12 years of age or older to consent to vaccines that meet specified federal agency criteria.”

QUICK FACTS:
  • Current California law says minors aged 12–17 cannot be vaccinated in the state without permission from their parents or guardian unless the vaccine is specifically to prevent a sexually transmitted disease, according to The Associated Press.
  • But a new bill in the Golden State, SB 866, would allow children age 12 and up to be vaccinated without their parents’ consent, the youngest age of any state.
  • The proposal was made late Thursday by openly gay Senator Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco.
  • Wiener argued that California already allows those 12 and up to consent to the Hepatitis B and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, and to treatment for sexually transmitted infections, substance abuse, and mental health disorders, AP reports.
  • “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,” Weiner said. “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.”
  • Wiener gave a planned news conference about his SB 866 on Friday, alongside San Francisco’s public health director, Dr. Grant Colfax, and several school children.
  • “Once the vaccine is fully approved, however, parents could cite personal beliefs to opt their children out of being inoculated,” reports The Los Angeles Times.
  • But, according to Weiner, “This won’t be the only bill.”
  • Dr. Robert Malone, the creator of mRNA technologies used in Covid-19 vaccines, recently warned, “It is clear that parents should think twice about vaccinating their child,” adding that serious adverse events can occur and can be “so severe that it puts your child in the hospital.”
  • Dr. Malone went on to say with regard to myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) there’s “a good chance that if your child takes the vaccine, they won’t be damaged, they won’t show clinical symptoms—[but] they may have subclinical damage.”
WHAT SB 866 WOULD DO:
  • Sen. Wiener’s bill would lift the parental requirement for minors aged 12–17 for any vaccine that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • “A minor 12 years of age or older may consent to a vaccine that is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration and meets the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (ACIP) without the consent of the parent or guardian of the minor,” reads the bill.
  • AP claims “that includes immunizations against the coronavirus.”
Image of California Sen. Scott Weiner from wired.com
WHAT THE BILL SAYS:

Existing law prescribes various circumstances under which a minor may consent to their medical care and treatment without the consent of a parent or guardian. These circumstances include, among others, authorizing a minor 12 years of age or older who may have come into contact with an infectious, contagious, or communicable disease to consent to medical care related to the diagnosis or treatment of the disease, if the disease or condition is one that is required by law or regulation to be reported to the local health officer, or is a related sexually transmitted disease, as may be determined by the State Public Health Officer.

This bill would additionally authorize a minor 12 years of age or older to consent to vaccines that meet specified federal agency criteria. The bill would authorize a vaccine provider, as defined, to administer a vaccine pursuant to the bill, but would not authorize the vaccine provider to provide any service that is otherwise outside the vaccine provider’s scope of practice.

OPPOSITION:
  • “This to me seems to be another example of Democrats wanting to remove parents from the equation,” said Republican Assemblyman James Gallagher, adding, “I think that’s flawed policy. I think parents are vital to these decisions.”
  • But Gallagher believes Se. Wiener may have difficulty even in a Legislature overwhelmingly controlled by Democrats: “I think there will be bipartisan support for the proposition that parents should be involved in their kids’ health care decisions,” he said, “in deciding what types of medical care and drugs they should be taking.”
OTHER STATES:
  • Alabama allows teens to receive a vaccination without parental consent at age 14, according to Sen. Weiner.
  • Oregon, 15.
  • Rhode Island and South Carolina, 16.
  • Only Washington, D.C., has a lower limit, at age 11.
BACKGROUND:
  • Currently in California, minors ages 12 to 17 cannot be vaccinated without permission from their parents or guardian, unless the vaccine is specifically to prevent a sexually transmitted disease, AP notes.
  • Wiener and other Democratic lawmakers—including Sens. Richard Pan and Josh Newman, and Assembly members Dr. Akilah Weber, Buffy Wicks, Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, and Evan Low—announced on Wednesday that they have formed a “work group” to examine ways to promote vaccines and fight “misinformation.”