SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — California state senators moved forward with a controversial measure that would allow kids 12 and up to get vaccinated without parental consent.
“This is about allowing these young people to take steps to protect their own health, and we should allow them to do that,” said Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco.
The bill, also known as Senate Bill 866, passed in a tight 21-7 vote with multiple Democrats either not voting or rejecting the proposal.
The bill allows children ages 12 and up to be vaccinated, not just against COVID-19 but other shots approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Opponents said parents should be involved in this important medical decision.
“If the parents don’t know the child got the vaccination, how would they know to keep an eye out for it, to watch for it,” said Sen. Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore. “How would they tell a caretaker to watch out for these symptoms? They wouldn’t know that. I think it’s unfair, unreasonable for any parent out there that just wants to keep their child safe.”
Supporters said teens in California already have the ability to consent to other medical treatments like birth control and mental health.
Other states like Rhode Island, South Carolina, Oregon, Washington D.C. and Alabama allow teens to get vaccinated without parental approval.
“Of course we want kids to feel comfortable talking to their parents about vaccination or hundreds of other important issues in life. We absolutely want that. That’s not the reality of the world for every child,” Wiener said.
The bill now heads to the state Assembly for approval in that house before it can reach the governor’s desk.