by Photo courtesy of the Sweetwater Union High School District via Instagram

Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco, introduced new legislation that would allow minors ages 12 through 17 to receive vaccinations without parental consent. 

 In California, people who are 12 and over may consent to the Hepatitis B and Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, substance abuse, and mental health disorders. With SB 866, the vaccine age of consent is dropped from 18 to 12. 

“Unvaccinated teens are at risk, but others at risk & make schools less safe. They often can’t work, participate in sports, or go to friends’ homes,” Weiner wrote in a Twitter statement. “Let's let teens protect their health.” 

Minors within this age gap aren't able to receive vaccines without permission from their parents or guardians unless it is for sexual health. According to Weiner, there are about 1 million 12-17-year-olds that are not vaccinated for COVID-19. 

“Many want to get vaccinated, but parents won’t let them, or aren’t making the time to take them. Teens shouldn’t have to rely on parents’ views & availability to protect themselves from a deadly virus,” Wiener said. 

Misinformation created hesitancy surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine, measles, and other contagious diseases, according to Wiener. 

In October, California became the first in the nation to establish a COVID-19 vaccine for school children with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement, but it remains dormant until later this year. 

The mandate allows for medical, religious, and personal belief exemptions. Wiener’s legislation is not a mandate. Individuals ages 12-17 would be clinically eligible, as everyone else, to receive vaccinations. 

"Teens shouldn’t have to plot, scheme, or fight with their parents to get a vaccine. They should simply be able to walk in & get vaccinated like anyone else," Wiener said. 

Currently, children in California who are 5 years and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, but 28.6 percent of those ages 12-17 remain unvaccinated. 

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