The CA Vaccine Work Group and
SB 866 which would allow 12+ year old minors to consent
to vaccines without their parents knowledge?
Take Action: Make an appointment TODAY to meet with your CA State Senator today to discuss SB 866.
- Not sure who that is, enter your address here: https://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/ (Note: No need to contact your Assembly Member yet)
- Not sure how to set up a meeting and build a trusted relationship with your legislators, watch this webinar: https://youtu.be/NGwnwAcJJZ4
- Not sure what to say: Talking points are below and A Voice for Choice Advocacy will email a flyer early next week, for you to take to use for your State Senator meeting
- Want to share this information with others: https://avoiceforchoiceadvocacy.org/action-alert-sb866-012122/
Background: This week, Senator Pan announced the forming of the legislative Vaccine Work Group (https://sd06.senate.ca.gov/news/2022-01-19-legislators-form-vaccine-work-groupto-boost-public-health-policies). Members of the Vaccine Work Group include Senators Pan, Weiner and Newman, as well as Assembly Members Weber, Wicks, Aguiar-Curry and Low. Their goal is to develop “cohesive and comprehensive, evidence-based policies” to stop the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases while battling misinformation.
A Voice for Choice Advocacy has sounded the warning for the past few months that at least five BAD vaccine related bills being considered for the 2022 legislative session. The first of those, SB 866 was introduced yesterday, by key members of the Vaccine Work Group - Senators Wiener and Pan and Assembly Member Wicks, with Senator Josh Newman and Assembly Members Aguiar-Curry, Friedman, Low, Ting, and Weber as co-authors.
SB 866 Minors: vaccine consent (Weiner) AVFCA Bill Analysis: SB 866 would remove parental consent and “authorize a minor 12 years of age or older to consent to vaccines that meet specified federal agency criteria. The bill would authorize a vaccine provider, as defined, to administer a vaccine pursuant to the bill, but would not authorize the vaccine provider to provide any service that is otherwise outside the vaccine provider’s scope of practice.” (https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SB866)
To Note: CA already allows 12+ year old minors to consent to vaccines for sexually transmitted diseases, such as HPV and Hepatitis B. Rhode Island and South Carolina permit 16+ year old minors to consent to vaccines; Oregon permits 15+ year old minors; Alabama 14+ year old minors; and Washington, D.C. permits 11+ year old minors.
A Voice for Choice Advocacy’s issues with this bill are numerous, but key to our key reasons for opposition are:
- The bill subverts the right and duty of parents to make informed decisions about whether or not their children should receive medical treatment, without any finding that the parent is unfit.
- The bill creates a structure of distrust between the parent and the child and health care provider.
- While some 12+ year old minors may be able to make rational, informed decisions, minors of the same age have varying levels of maturity. Furthermore, the significant changes in adolescent brains mean 12+ year old minors are, more than at any other age, disproportionately swayed by peer pressure, lack of self-regulation and rewards (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5422908/). Over the past year, food and beverages, lottery tickets, peer pressure and much more have been used as incentives to push the COVID-19 vaccine. For an adolescent this preys on their immature cognition and prevents them from making unbiased, informed decisions.
- Minors may not know their full medical history and the potential risks of vaccination, and will not have knowledge what to look for if they do have an adverse reaction. If their parents are not aware of their12+ year old minor’s vaccination, treatment of a serious adverse reaction may be delayed because the parents could not convey the child’s medical history accurately.
- The vaccine providers are taking on the adult role in the vaccine decision making process for a minor. Currently, per the federal Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act and the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, vaccine providers have no liability if the child dies or suffers serious injuries directly caused by the administration of a vaccine. This would leave parents, who did not consent to the vaccination, fully responsible for the treatment of their child’s injuries.
- If 12+ year old minors have the right to consent to vaccines without their parent’s input, then 12+ year old minors should also have the right to decline vaccines without their parent’s input.
- The bill “would not authorize the vaccine provider to provide any service that is otherwise outside the vaccine provider’s scope of practice.” The bill therefore allows for broad medical treatment for 12+ year old minors, during a visit where a vaccination is also administered, given most pediatric vaccine providers are physicians or pharmacists.
AVFCA’s Response: While we vehemently oppose this bill, over the years A Voice for Choice Advocacy has learned that outright opposing bills that are authored by unwavering legislators and that are supported by powerful organizations such as the California Medical Association is not the most effective strategy. Therefore we will be opposing the bill unless amended, and ask you to do the same when meeting with your State Senator. The requested amendments are to add language:
- Change the age to authorize consent to vaccines to a minor 16 years of age or older.
- Similar to the San Francisco order (https://www.sfdph.org/dph/alerts/files/Order-C19-19-Vaccination-Minors.pdf) to ensure that all efforts are made to contact the parents prior to vaccination.
- To require the non-parental consenting minor to fully read the appropriate CDC Vaccine Information Statement, and for them to be offered the manufacturer’s vaccine package insert, prior to being vaccinated.
- To require the vaccine provider obtain complete medical history from the minor’s primary care provider, if they are not such, and conduct a physical examination and evaluation of the child consistent with the relevant standard of care prior to vaccinating.
- To require non-parental consenting minors who do not have parental consent be vaccinated in a physician’s office, and not at a school clinic, mass vaccination site, pharmacy, reproductive care clinic or other location.
- That non-parental consenting minors cannot be bribed, bullied or coerced to get a vaccination.
- To require the non-parental consenting minor's parent(s) be notified immediately after the vaccination is administered.
- To require the vaccine provider to take on all financial liability for the treatment of any vaccine adverse reaction, injury or death related to the vaccine administered.
- To allow non-parental consenting minors not only to consent to vaccination without parental input, but also to decline vaccination without parental input.
- To amend (c) so that it “would not authorize the vaccine provider to provide any service
that is otherwise outside the vaccine provider’s scope of practiceother than vaccination or treating any adverse reaction following vaccination.”