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Pa. Lawmakers Sponsors Bill That Would Allow Teenagers To Get Vaccines Without Parents' Consent

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- With more and more kids getting the coronavirus vaccine but many parents still hesitant, there are questions about when a teenager should be allowed to make their own medical decisions.

A Pennsylvania state senator is now sponsoring a bill to allow kids ages 14 and older to get vaccines if their doctors recommend it, even if their parents don't.

Right now, kids under 18 years old need consent from parents to get a vaccine. State Senator Amanda Cappelletti from Montgomery County is writing a bill to allow anyone 14 and older to make their own decision about vaccines after talking with their family doctor or pediatrician.

The Taylor sisters are ready to get the coronavirus vaccine at a clinic at Imani Christian School. It's not that they like shots, but they like the idea of being protected from the virus.

"It makes sense to get it instead of risking everything without it," said Amber Taylor.

Their mom was excited too.

"It was a no-brainer after I got my vaccine," she said.

But not all kids and parents agree on whether or not to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Cappelletti said at a vaccine clinic recently that she met a teenager who wanted the vaccine but his parents were not there to give approval.

That's when she began looking into the legal rights for kids 14 and older when it comes to vaccines. Cappelletti says this also makes it easier for split families when parents disagree on vaccines, to allow the teenager to decide.

But not everyone thinks it's a good idea.

Paulo Nzambi, the CEO of Imani Christian Academy, said, "I'd be reluctant. And I don't know if the public would be ready to receive an opportunity where really people critical to the development of a child are left out of that decision-making process."

But Senator Cappelletti says age 14 is not too young.

"I think that we underestimate the maturity and intelligence of young people," Cappelletti said.

The senator hopes to introduce this bill in Harrisburg in about a month, and then it's up to the Republican leadership to decide if and when it will come to a vote.

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