A proposed bill in California will permit minors to choose to receive vaccines without the consent of their parents.

On Jan. 20, California state Senator Scott Wiener introduced SB 866 which would amend California law to permit minors age 12 and older to consent to any vaccine that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

This would include the COVID-19 vaccines.

“I introduced new legislation (#SB866) to lower the vaccine age of consent from 18 to 12,” Sen. Wiener tweeted on Jan 21. “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.”

Sen. Wiener added that the bill would allow minors to consent to any vaccine “approved or granted emergency use authorization by the FDA & recommended by the CDC.”

According to USA Today, California already allows children 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.”

But California state representative James Gallagher has expressed opposition to SB 866, arguing that parents should be involved in the medical decisions their children make.

“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,” Rep. Gallagher said.

Jonathan Keller, President and CEO of California Family Council, expressed his organization’s opposition to SB 866.

“Parents have a God-given right to decide which medical treatments, including COVID-19 vaccines, are best for their children,” Keller told The Daily Citizen.

“The whims of Sacramento legislators are no justification for stripping mothers and fathers of their fundamental responsibility to make crucial risk assessments on behalf of their minor children. In a free society, parental rights belong to individual citizens, not the government.”

California is also moving forward with plans to become the first state in the nation to require schoolchildren to receive a COVID-19 vaccine – a mandate that will affect all of the state’s 6.7 million school students.

Exemptions to the statewide mandate would be available for medical, religious and personal beliefs.

In Los Angeles, over 80% of those eligible to receive one of the COVID-19 vaccines have received at least one dose, while 72% have been fully vaccinated.

Despite the high vaccination rate, Los Angeles County has experienced a massive spike in cases of COVID-19 this winter, setting a new record for its 7-day-average of 41,682 new daily cases on January 15, 2022.

Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has mandated that all students age 12 and up be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to attend in-person classes.

However, the implementation of the mandate was recently postponed until this fall after 30,000 students, who haven’t received the vaccine, would have been forced into remote, online study.

LAUSD is the 2nd largest public school system in the United States, with 640,000 students.

Should SB 866 become law in California, the state will have an intriguing mix of decisions that minors need, or don’t need, their parent’s consent on.

Adolescents won’t need their parents’ consent to get vaccinated, or to get an abortion.

However, California does not permit anyone under the age of 18 to get a tattoo, and if a minor wants to get a body piercing, it must be authorized by the minor’s parent or guardian.

Additionally, California requires that teenagers age 15-17 receive their parent’s permission in order to use a tanning bed.

Parental involvement in their children’s medical decisions is vital. And it’s precisely for the most important decisions, like receiving a vaccine or getting an abortion, that parents should be the most involved.

Photo from Shutterstock.