New bill would allow teens to get COVID-19 vaccine without parental consent

By Eli Walsh

By Eli Walsh

Bay City News Foundation

California teenagers would be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19 without needing their parents’ permission under a bill introduced this week by state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco.

Senate Bill 866 would allow children ages 12 and up to receive any vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices without having to provide parental consent.

Wiener argued that teenagers across the state are already allowed to receive certain medical treatment without a parent’s consent, including the HPV and hepatitis B vaccines and reproductive and mental health care, and said that COVID vaccines should be no exception.

“COVID-19 is a deadly virus for the unvaccinated, and 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 said in a statement.

The bill would also apply to the measles vaccine, Wiener said, as current state law only allows teenagers to get vaccinated without parental consent for illnesses that are sexually transmitted.

Several other states and jurisdictions already allow teenagers to get vaccinated without parental consent, including Alabama, South Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C.

“Our San Francisco teens have some of the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the state and nation with more than 90 percent fully vaccinated, and they are now getting boosted,” San Francisco Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax said. “This age group has been a critical part of our response to ending the pandemic.”

Wiener introduced the bill Thursday with Sen. Dr. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, both of whom are part of the newly assembled Vaccine Work Force of state legislators.

Other members of the workforce — Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, and Assembly members Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland, Evan Low, D-Campbell, Dr. Akilah Weber, D-San Diego, and Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters — are co-authors of the bill, as is Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco.

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