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California lawmakers on Thursday amended a bill that would allow teens to be vaccinated against a range of health conditions without parental consent, rather than raising the recommended minimum age to 15, which remains one of the youngest in the U.S. one.
Currently, minors ages 12 to 17 in California cannot receive vaccines without parental or guardian permission, with the exception of vaccines to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. California law already allows people 12 and older to consent to the hepatitis B and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines.
The bill, passed 21-8 in the state Senate last month, would allow people 12 and older to receive any vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including those against the coronavirus, despite their parents objected. That would be the youngest age of consent in any state.
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Republican Congressman Kevin Kiley said in a tweet that the bill was “nowhere near” the 41 votes needed to pass the convention.
The bill’s author, Katie Stewart, a spokeswoman for Democratic Senator Scott Wiener, said the bill’s supporters were close to getting enough votes in Congress, but “it’s not a slam dunk.”
“We thought it would help make things easier,” she said. “And we think most of the people who will use it and benefit from it will be between 15 and 18, so we think it’s a good compromise. »
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The amendment does not change the lower age of consent for sexually transmitted disease-related vaccines.
Wiener’s measure is the latest coronavirus-related bill to meet resistance. With several other proposals on hold as the winter pandemic recedes, his legislation may be the most controversial remaining legislation.
Gov. Gavin Newsom and Sen. Richard Penn both delayed school vaccinations until next year, and Congresswoman Buffy Wicks withdrew her bill that would require all California businesses to requiring its employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Stewart acknowledged that many council members were concerned about the younger age and “we want to cross the finish line with people”.
Alabama allows children to agree to the vaccine starting at age 14, Oregon at 15, and Rhode Island and South Carolina at 16. Cities such as Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. allow children 11 and older to consent to the COVID-19 vaccine, while in San Francisco, age 12 and older.
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Republican Congressman Heath Flora said raising the age to 15 was “not enough.”
“For years, the state has tried to give 17-year-olds the right to vote and 12-year-olds to make medical decisions,” he said. “But we don’t want to prosecute adult criminals before they’re 25 because their brains aren’t fully developed yet. »