California children aged 12 or older would be legally allowed to get vaccinated without parental consent if a bill introduced Thursday by Democratic state Sen. Scott Wiener is signed into law, according to The Associated Press.
🧵 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
Under current state law, children ages 12 to 17 cannot be vaccinated absent parental consent, except for certain vaccines. Wiener’s proposed bill would eliminate that rule for any Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccine, according to The AP. (RELATED: ‘Subverts The Right And Duty Of Parents’: Bowser, DC Sued For Allowing Children To Get Vaccinated Without Parental Consent)
If the proposal is passed by the state legislature and signed into law, California would have one of the lowest thresholds for minor consent of any state. Washington, D.C., allows children to be vaccinated at age 11 without parental consent. Alabama, Oregon, Rhode Island and South Carolina have similar laws that apply to children over the ages of 14, 15, and 16 respectively, Wiener said, The AP reported.
“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, according to The AP. “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.”
To justify giving minors this degree of medical autonomy, Wiener cited the example of unvaccinated children being prohibited from participating in sports and other recreational activities due to parents being unable or unwilling to vaccinate them. He also citing pre-existing California law that permits minors to forego parental consent in being treated or vaccinated for sexually transmitted diseases, as well as for receiving treatment for mental health and substance abuse disorders, according to The AP.
Wiener came under fire in 2020 after making national headlines for authoring a bill that, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, stated adults convicted of having anal or oral sex with a minor less than 10 years their junior would not automatically be added to the sex-offender registry. That bill, SB 145, was later signed into law by Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom.