A California bill that would let children aged 12 and older get vaccinated without parental consent passed a key legislative committee on Thursday.
Currently in California, children under the age of 18 can’t get most vaccines — including COVID-19 shots — without permission from their parents or guardians.
The bill, introduced by California Sen. Scott Wiener, would allow minors aged 12 and older to consent to a vaccine on their own if it has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and meets the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Teens should be able to protect their own health with vaccines – whether against COVID, flu, measles or polio – even if their parents refuse or can’t take them to get the shot,” California Sen. Scott Wiener tweeted Thursday after the measure cleared its first legislative hurdle.
If the bill is signed into law, California would have one of the youngest age groups that can be vaccinated without parental consent, the Associated Press reported.
In 2020, Washington, D.C. passed a local measure allowing children age 11 and older consent to vaccines.
Asked about criticism that the measure would limit parents’ oversight of their children’s health, Wiener told the AP in January that California already allows children 12 and up to agree on their own to the Hepatitis B and HPV vaccines, as well as to treatments for sexually transmitted infections.
“This is not a new or radical idea, it’s very consistent with existing law,” the state senator said earlier this year.