A health worker administers the COVID-19 Moderna vaccine to a local resident at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, California on March 8, 2021. A new California bill would allow teenagers to get vaccinated without parental approval. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 21 (UPI) -- California legislators could consider a bill that would allow children 12 and older to receive any vaccine without their parents' prior consent.
While the newly-formed Democratic vaccine caucus in the California legislature focused on the new measure during the coronavirus pandemic, the law would cover any vaccination.
The group had promised to strengthen the state's vaccination laws and target misinformation about COVID-19 and other vaccines.
The bill would still allow parents to cite personal beliefs to opt their children out of being inoculated if vaccines are required.
For all other shots required to attend school in California, state law requires a medical exemption to skip some or all of those vaccines for in-person attendance at K-12 schools.
In California, children over 12 can get HPV and hepatitis B vaccines without parents' permission, but that rule currently does not extend to other vaccines. The law would only apply to those approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
"This is about empowering teenagers to make decisions on their own health and their own safety," State Sen. Scott Wiener from San Francisco said about Senate Bill 866.
"Almost a million California teenagers are unvaccinated, and for a lot of those teens it's because their parents either refuse to get them vaccinated or they have not yet gotten around to it," Weiner said.
He said while the bill builds on existing law, he is expected significant opposition to it.
"We know we have the fringe anti-vaxxers who oppose any bill that expands access to vaccines," Wiener said, according to Politico.
Ani Chaglasian, 17, has worked with Wiener's office to promote the legislation. She said she lost her jobs at local hospitals taking calls for a teen crisis hotline because her mom refused to let her get a COVID-19 vaccine or the flu shot.