LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — A new bill proposed by California Senator Scott Wiener would allow children ages 12 and up to receive vaccination without parental consent.
In a press conference on Friday, he told reporters, "Those kids deserve the right to protect themselves."
As detailed by The Associated Press, this would apply to any vaccination that is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As it stands, minors from the ages of 12 to 17 are unable to be vaccinated without parental consent - unless the reason for vaccination specifically relates to the prevention of a sexually transmitted disease.
Other states, like Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. allow children the right to get the COVID-19 vaccination without parental consent, from the age of 11 and up, but should this bill pass, California would become the state with the lowest minimum age requirement when it comes to full-vaccination, not just in relation to Coronavirus.
"Giving young people the autonomy to receive life-saving vaccines, regardless of their parents' beliefs or work schedules, is essential for their physical and mental health," he said. "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."
On the topic of criticism surrounding the proposal, Wiener detailed that Alabama, Oregon, Rhode Island and South Carolina also allow teenagers to receive vaccination without parental consent - Alabama being the youngest at age 14.
Like any vaccination mandate, the proposal has already met stiff criticism, including from other state senators.
"This to me seems to be another example of Democrats wanting to remove parents from the equation," said Republican Assemblyman James Gallagher. "I think that's flawed policy. I think parents are vital to these decisions."
Wiener and several other Democrats formed a group to evaluate ways to promote vaccination and fight misinformation. Members include Senator Richard Pan, Senator Josh Newman, and Assembly members Dr. Akilah Weber, Buffy Wicks, Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, and Evan Low.
He also noted that the decision belongs with students who may be missing out on sports and other extracurricular activities, but are unable to receive vaccination because their parents either won't let them, or can't get them.
Wiener was joined at the press conference by several students as well, including one who told stories of friends who are suffering from the isolation being forced upon them due to not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine - meaning they cannot return to school.
All of this comes in light of California Govenor Gavin Newsom's COVID-19 vaccine mandate in Oct. 2021. The mandate isn't expected to go into effect until later in 2022, though it will allow exemption for a variety of reasons including religious and personal beliefs.
(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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