A bill in California would allow children ages 12 and older to be vaccinated without their parents’ consent.
If passed, the legislation would ensure California has the youngest age of any state when children can make their own decisions about vaccines. Washington, D.C. allows children ages 11 and older to be vaccinated without approval from parents.
California currently allows children ages 12 and older to, without parental consent, get the Human Papillomavirus and Hepatitis B vaccines, along with treatment of sexually transmitted infections and other medical care.
Democratic State Sen. Scott Wiener introduced the proposal on Thursday. It would allow minors 12 years and older to consent to vaccines that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“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,” Wiener 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.”
The Democratic lawmaker also shared on Friday on Twitter that “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,” Wiener shared on Twitter on Friday. “Let’s let teens protect their health.”
🧵 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.
— Senator Scott Wiener (@Scott_Wiener) January 21, 2022
However, some of Wiener’s fellow lawmakers have already opposed the legislation. Republican California Assemblyman James Gallagher called the proposal “another example of Democrats wanting to remove parents from the equation.”
“I think there will be bipartisan support for the proposition that parents should be involved in their kids' health care decisions, in deciding what types of medical care and drugs they should be taking,” Gallagher said, the Associated Press reported.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom last year announced the country’s first coronavirus vaccine mandate for children in school. Though it has not yet taken effect, it will provide exemptions for religious beliefs and more.
Children ages 5 and older are eligible for to receive the COVID-19 vaccine across the country. Approximately 19% of children ages 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: California bill would let kids get vaccinated without parental consent