California Democrats have proposed a bill that will allow children ages 12 and above to be vaccinated without the consent of their parents.
The Associated Press reports that Democratic state Sen. Scott Wiener introduced the bill on Thursday in Sacramento where he argued for providing children with the autonomy to receive vaccines regardless of what their parents want.
“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,” said Wiener.
“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,” he added.
Wiener, who represents San Francisco and parts of San Mateo County, announced the legislation’s introduction on Twitter.
“I introduced new legislation (#SB866) to lower the vaccine age of consent from 18 to 12. Unvaccinated teens are at risk, put others at risk & make schools less safe. They often can’t work, participate in sports, or go to friends’ homes. Let’s let teens protect their health,” he wrote.
In a series of tweets, Wiener pointed out that around one million 12-17-year-olds in California are not vaccinated.
“Many want to get vaccinated but parents won’t let them or aren’t making the time to take them,” he said. “Teens shouldn’t have to rely on parents’ views & availability to protect themselves from a deadly virus.”
The state senator highlighted how California law already allows 12-17-year-olds to access various forms of healthcare without parental consent, such as vaccines for HPV, Hepatitis B, birth control, abortion care, and domestic violence-related care.
“SB 866 builds on this existing law to expand vaccine access,” he said. “SB 866 allows 12-17 year olds to consent to any vaccine approved or granted emergency use authorization by the FDA & recommended by the CDC. As with anyone else, they’ll have to be clinically eligible for a particular vaccine.”
“Teens shouldn’t have to plot, scheme or fight with their parents to get a vaccine,” said Wiener. “They should simply be able to walk in & get vaccinated like anyone else.”
According to Politico, SB 866 is expected to have its first committee hearing by March or April, with additional legislation from other members of the caucus to include consumer mandates and requirements for workplace safety, as well as measures to eliminate religious exemption at schools for COVID-19 vaccinations.